Did you know that approximately 23% of prescription drugs cost consumers more if they use their insurance plans to pay, rather than paying out of pocket? That’s because of so-called “gag orders” that prevent pharmacy employees from informing consumers about the cash price of their prescriptions, unless the consumer asks for that information.
The U.S. Senate health committee will vote next month on whether or not to ban these clauses. In the meantime, here’s how to pay for prescriptions without insurance.
No Insurance? No Problem! How to Pay For Prescriptions without Insurance
Gallup research indicates that 12.2% of Americans do not carry health insurance, many of them because the premiums are too high. Whether you are among that number, or you just want to get the best deal possible on prescriptions, read on for some money-saving tips.
1. Request Generics
Generic medications are less expensive than their name brand counterparts because the manufacturer has a lower overhead. The original manufacturer of a name brand medication has funneled a lot of money into research and development, clinical trials, and other steps necessary for FDA approval.
When the patent on that drug runs out, other companies can manufacture a generic equivalent. Generics are exactly the same as name brands. In fact, they’re often made at the very same facility and simply packaged differently.
2. Discount Cards and Coupons
Wondering how to pay for prescription medications without insurance? There are a number of discount cards that you can use to lower your costs. You can also find coupons, like this Tazorac coupon, to slash the price you’ll pay out of pocket.
3. Shop Around
It may surprise you to learn that not all pharmacies charge the same price for a particular medication. Independent pharmacies have more leeway that chains to change the cost of a prescription. It pays to do your homework and shop around.
Make sure to check out the pharmacy at Costco and other membership-only stores. They tend to offer low medication costs. In most cases, you don’t have to be a member to use the pharmacy!
Chain pharmacies may be able to stay competitive because of the volume of drugs they sell, or because they consider pharmacy items to be loss leaders. So they may charge less for some common medications, in the hopes that while you’re in the store, you’ll also buy toilet paper, dog food, and cake mix.
4. Apply for Financial Assistance
Pharmaceutical companies get a bad rap for being greedy and money-grubbing, but in fact, they give away billions of dollars worth of prescription meds to needy patients every year. You may qualify for free or low-cost medications if you meet certain eligibility criteria.
How to pay for prescriptions without insurance really isn’t an insurmountable problem, as many people think it is. With a little research and comparison shopping, you can stay healthy and still stick to your budget.
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