3 Tools to Help You Navigate Rising Medication Prices

If you’ve been on any prescribed medications for a substantial amount of time, the idea that your medication costs may be increasing this year is probably not news. For instance, among drugs that saw price increases from January 2022 to January 2023, the average increase was 15.2%. So if you paid $100 per month for medication in early 2022, your prices might have gone up to $115 by the same time the next year.

But when those costs rise so high that you’re having trouble paying, it’s best to get creative and find ways to save without compromising your health by skipping doses. Here are three tools you can use to save money on your medications.

1. Medicaid’s pharmaceutical assistance program

If you have Medicare Part D, you can use its assistance program to look up and find assistance programs designed to help address the costs of such drugs, and learn the eligibility requirements associated with those.

For example, if you use the drug Abilify, the tool shows that there is one program available from Rx OUTREACH, and you’d need to meet the program’s financial guidelines, which have been increased beyond 400% of the federal poverty level guidelines. And when you click over to Rx Outreach’s site, you can look up Abilify, which costs $25 for up to 30 tablets, assuming 10-milligram doses. That’s compared to retail prices, which can start at over $500 per month (which is a more than 1,900% increase).

2. Discount cards and assistance programs

Another place where you may find help with your prescription costs are the manufacturers themselves, who may offer discount cards and patient assistance programs for their products. For instance, the manufacturer card for NovoLog (which provides insulin in a pen or pump form) can save up to $65 per month on a prescription.

You can use the site NeedyMeds.org to find these types of programs for both generic and brand-name medications, or you can visit the manufacturer’s site.

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Similarly, you may consider using programs from pharmacies like Walgreens and Walmart, which may provide savings even if you don’t have health insurance. The latter has some prescriptions for as low as $4 for a 30-day supply:

3. Mail-order services

If you need to order your medications online, rather than going into a pharmacy to pick them up, there are several options to save money on those prescriptions:

  • Mail-order services may provide discounted prescriptions and help you understand the cost savings of ordering online versus going into a participating pharmacy. (However, their prices may be higher than your existing ones, depending on how and where you currently get your medications, so be sure to review that first.) Blink Health is one example. You might also consider Cost Plus Drugs.
  • Insurer mail services may also offer a free way to access your medications, potentially for free. This can be better than going to a pharmacy since it saves you on transportation costs. The key here is to make sure that you order it early enough to avoid skipping doses. And, again, prices vary. So make sure to check those against your other options to make sure you’re saving enough money.

Working prescription prices into your personal finances can be tricky, especially when the costs unexpectedly change. But if you’re able to examine your options and select the one that both meets your needs and delivers the lowest price, it can be well worth the effort.

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