We are almost to 2016, and the high costs of prescriptions are still a huge problem for millions of Americans. Despite laws like the Affordable Care Act (ACA), drug prices continue to vary and rise in ways that are often too much for patients to navigate. A recent poll found that a third of those currently taking a medication experienced a spike in price in the past year. Consumer Reports was able to uncover a lot of information with a national price scan of five common generic drugs. With their findings in mind, there are tips one can follow to get lower prices and better deals on needed medication.
=&0=& Even pharmacies within a few miles of each other can vary widely in price, sometimes by hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, chain drugstores consistently charged the most among the medications and locations polled. Independent and local mom-and-pop pharmacies were found to have bargains on prescriptions, and sometimes are flexible to match or beat competitor prices.
=&1=& Many chain stores offer common generics at prices as low as $4-$15 for a 30- to 90- day supply when people pay out of pocket. NeedyMeds has a database of locations and medications available through these discount programs
. Sometimes pharmacists will insist you must use your health insurance, even it the price is higher than the cash price or the price with the NeedyMeds drug discount card. They are wrong – you never have to use your health insurance if you can get a better price not using it.
=&2=& For drugs you will be taking long term, getting enough medicine to last three months as opposed to one can be cheaper. We mentioned the discount programs available above, and for those using insurance it would equate to only one copay instead of three.
=&3=& It may seem awkward or something better used at a car dealership, but Consumer Reports found that pharmacists either have some flexibility when asked or are able to find a coupon or card that can bring down the price, or offer one of the discount programs they may have available for those not using insurance.