By Erin Bendig, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
It has become increasingly difficult for Americans to afford prescription medications.
A March 2023 study from YouGov found 37 percent of Americans have had to forgo filling at least one prescription due to the cost. It also revealed 43 percent of women and 44 percent of people with an annual family income under $50,000 are most likely to not be able to afford prescription medication.
With so many individuals struggling to keep up with the cost of prescription drugs, it’s clear saving money at the pharmacy is a concern for many. These tips can help ease the burden:
Check out Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) and GoodRx. PAPs are managed by pharmaceutical companies to provide free or discounted medications to people who can’t afford them. Typically, PAPs are contingent on financial need. For more information on how to enroll and to see if you qualify for a PAP, go to RXAssist.org or NeedyMeds.org.
Also check out GoodRx on its website or mobile app to find the cheapest prices on prescription medications. The site compares real-time prices at different pharmacies to find the best prices and discounts. It also offers free coupons to help you pay less.
Consider a 90-day supply. Opting for a three-month subscription, as opposed to a one-month supply, could save you considerable money on medication costs. Yes, you‘ll pay more out of pocket up-front, but you’ll shell out less money overall in the long run. Ask your doctor if a 90-day supply is a possibility and if it’ll save you some cash.
Save by going generic (or biosimilar). According to the Association for Accessible Medicines, the average brand name drug copay was $56.12 in 2022. This is more than nine times higher than the average copay for generic drugs, which the AAM reported to be $6.16. The AAM also found that 93 percent of the time, the copay for a generic prescription was under $20, compared to only 59 percent of the time for name-brand drugs.
Biosimilar drugs are also good options for savings. A biosimilar drug isn’t an exact copy of a name-brand drug the way generic drugs are. Instead, they have a structure that is highly similar to the name-brand biologic. However, since biosimilar drugs still behave the same way as a name-brand biologic, they’re considered just as safe and effective.
Choose the right pharmacy. Filling your prescription medication at a preferred pharmacy can help you save on the cost of copays, so check with your health insurance provider to make sure a pharmacy is in your plan’s preferred network. A prescription delivery service could also help you save on prescription drugs.
For example, Amazon’s RxPass gives Prime members access to the most common generic medications for a flat fee of $5 per month. Also, Walgreens’ Prescription Savings Club program costs $20 a year for an individual or $35 for a family, and it offers valuable discounts on thousands of name-brand and generic medications.