On a personal note: I recently ended up at the pharmacy counter paying $80 for a bottle of prescription cough medicine (and that was after insurance!). Yes, cough medicine! Wow ~ what a shock!!! I know my experience with the rising cost of prescriptions is not unique, so I am writing today’s post in hopes of helping others decrease their expenses and stretch this area of the budget.
Ten easy ways to decrease your prescription expenses.
Good news! Pharmacies and drug manufacturers are competing hard for our business by offering special savings incentives for choosing them. These incentives take many forms, ranging from pharmacy coupons for store gift cards to drug manufacturer coupons and rebates. The savings can add up fast since many of these coupons and rebates can be used together.
Let’s take a closer look at these incentives and strategies to save on your next pharmacy bill:
- Find out from your doctor if there is a generic option for your medication. With many pharmacies offering $4 generic prescriptions, this option can often save you a bundle and provide a lower insurance co-pay too.
- For non-generics, ask your doctor for available coupons or rebates from the manufacturer. Frequently, pharmaceutical reps provide coupons, instant rebates, and other savings promotions for doctors to pass along to their patients.
- Shop around. Like every other shopping experience, it pays to shop around on your medications. The more expensive the prescription, the more important it is to compare prices to save money. This is particularly true, if you have high co-pays or deductibles on your insurance. Take a moment to call several stores before choosing a pharmacy, and be sure to include warehouse clubs like Costco and Sams on your call list, as they often have the lowest prices.
- Look for pharmacy coupons online before choosing where to fill your prescription. With a simple Google or Bing search you can easily find what coupons are available for local pharmacies ( i.e. Search: CVS Transfer Prescription Coupon January 2010 to find current coupons). Take a look at yesterday’s post to find a link for a $10 Target Gift Card with Prescription.
- Scan your newspaper circulars for prescription coupons. Target, CVS, Kroger, Albertson’s, and Walgreens, to name but a few, have all jumped on the prescription coupon band wagon and almost monthly run a coupon in their circulars. Most often these pharmacies offer a store gift certificate usable anywhere in the store.
- Make it a habit to read your store receipts from the check-out. Pharmacy savings rewards and coupons are often provided to loyal store customers along with the receipt. I have often received such “bounce-back” pharmacy coupons with my grocery receipts at Target and know that other stores like CVS, Walgreens, and Kroger do this as well.
- Ask your store’s pharmacist what offers are currently available for new or transferred prescriptions. You might be well rewarded. I have often found that CVS and Walgreens have an ongoing, unpublicized offer for a FREE $25 gift certificate for transferred prescriptions.
- Switch pharmacies. Some of the best savings coupons are for transferred prescriptions, making it literally pay to change pharmacies. However, you will want to evaluate the practicality and benefits of this. If you prefer to stick with one pharmacy, keep in mind that many pharmacies will take competitor coupons or match a competitor’s offer. Always ask.
- Look online for coupons or rebates from the manufacturer. Visit the pharmaceutical company’s official website and search for savings incentives. The more competition a prescription has from other manufacturers or the newer the drug, the more likely you will find a rebate or coupon. Fellow bloggers, “Grocery Coupon Guide” and “Reduce Prescription Costs” have a long list of direct links to drug companies that offer discounts ~ a good starting point to find extra savings.
- Try before you buy. Coupons for free trial vouchers or free samples for new customers are available for many medications direct from the manufacturer. You will need a doctor’s written prescription, however, to send with the coupon or voucher.
Be sure to look at all your options for maximizing your savings on medications. Combining store pharmacy offers with any available manufacturers’ incentives typically provides the greatest returns.
Important Note: These strategies are easy, but since they do need a little planning and time, we assume that your prescription is not for an emergency. If your medical professional has indicated you need immediate medical attention or medications, please do so, according to their instructions and advice. The material found on this page is for informational purposes only and none of it should be considered medical advice in any way. Please consult your physician with any medical questions.
If you have any other ideas on how you have saved money on prescriptions (or have links to related coupons & rebates), please post a comment, as we would love to hear about it!
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