Feel Better for Less: 5 Tips for Affording Prescriptions Without Insurance
In 2017, prescription drug spending in the United States reached $1,025 per capita. For 2018, experts estimate US consumers spent a total of $360.2 billion on prescriptions.
That’s a lot of money, especially for those who don’t have healthcare insurance. In fact, out-of-pocket medical costs in the fourth quarter of 2017 averaged $1,813 per patient!
You don’t have to settle for the exorbitant price of prescription medications though. There are ways to get your prescriptions without insurance for much less.
Ready to become healthier without making your finances suffer? Then make sure you follow these money-saving tips when buying the medicines you need!
1. Take Advantage of Discounts and Pharmacy Coupons
In 2014, up to 96% of U.S. consumers used discount coupons, both print and digital. By the end of this year, experts forecast that 142.4 million people in the US will use mobile coupons.
After all, coupons for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) alone help consumers save an average of $1,560 a year. That’s already a lot of money, considering that 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts.
So, imagine how much more you can save if you started using pharmacy coupons. Especially if you’re one of the more-than-half of U.S. adults taking two prescription meds.
Most coupons for prescriptions start with a $10 discount per order. That means you can save $20 or more, depending on the number of prescriptions you have.
Start saving money on prescription drugs today by redeeming as many of these coupons as you need. They’re easy to use, as most digital coupons have an “automatic application” feature upon check out. Some codes, you’d have to copy and paste, but it’s worth the effort if you can get access to your prescriptions for less.
2. Ask Your Doctor for Generic Versions or Alternatives
Generic drugs can be as effective as their branded counterparts. What’s more, they cost far less than branded ones. When you go for generic medications, you can cut your prescription costs by 80 to 85 percent.
Safety isn’t an issue, so long as you use a generic drug approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA puts these products under stringent testing procedures.
First, the FDA verifies they contain the same active ingredients of the branded drugs. The generic version also needs to be of the same dosage and strength as the branded ones. Even the packaging goes through the same quality standards used on branded drugs.
All these tests ensure that generic drugs are both safe and effective.
So, why then are generics lower-priced?
For one, generic manufacturers no longer have to carry out expensive clinical trials. The drug isn’t “new”, as it’s modeled after a tried, tested, and proven drug (the branded one). They also don’t have to conduct extensive advertising and promotion anymore.
If you still aren’t comfortable with generics, ask your doctor about branded alternatives. Your prescription drugs likely come in other forms aside from the brand you take.
Don’t make a sudden switch on your medications though, as this can lead to side effects. Talk to your physician before making any changes to your medicines. They need to ensure you can take the alternative without upsetting your health.
3. Consider a Licensed Online Pharmacy
With the costs of prescriptions on the rise, many seek the services of online pharmacies. As many as 26% of adults aged 69 or older order their medications from these online platforms.
Aside from much lower-priced drugs, these pharmacies also offer convenience. They ship the medications straight to their clients’ doorsteps. That’s especially helpful for patients who have mobility issues.
Before ordering online, make sure you verify the legitimacy of the pharmacy. Legitimate pharmacies always require a written prescription from a licensed health care professional. If you can’t provide one, they will ask you to get one first before selling you the medications.
Trustworthy online pharmacies also hold a state board of pharmacy licensure. You can check with your state board of pharmacy to verify if the pharmacy you want to order from has a license.
There should be a physical address listed on the website too, as well as phone contact details. This’ll let you call them, with a licensed pharmacist entertaining your inquiries.
Don’t forget to still compare prices offered by different online pharmacies! It’s much like how you’d compare health coverage plans to save on premiums. This will further help you find the lowest-cost medicines online.
4. Bulk Orders = More Affordable Prescriptions without Insurance
Bulk orders can further help you save on medication prices without insurance. Many physical and online pharmacies offer discounts for large orders on these medicines. The bigger your order is, the more savings you can get.
But this also means higher upfront costs, since you’re buying, say, a supply for three months. After that though, you don’t have to worry about the next three months. Nor do you have to panic about missing a dosage.
5. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Samples
Drug manufacturers often give away product samples to physicians and pharmacies. They do so as part of their loyalty program benefits, or for advertising and promotion. Either way, you should take advantage of these freebies.
Ask your primary healthcare giver or your trusted pharmacist for some samples. If they have some, they’ll give it to you for free. You may not save a lot, but you can get at least a few days’ worths of supply.
Bonus Tip: Check if You Can Split Higher-Dose Drugs
While talking with your doctor or pharmacist, ask them about pill-splitting. Many drugs available in higher doses are “splittable”, like those with score marks on them. This can save you money, since a bottle of 30 x 100 mg pills may cost only a few more dollars than a bottle of 30 x 25 mg.
Let’s say your prescriptions are for a 25 mg medication. If it’s available in 100 mg and is safe to split, you can buy this instead. Then, you can split the pills/tablets in four, drinking only one of the quarters as directed.
Pill-splitting can be a huge money-saver on prescriptions, so long as you do it right. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist to split them for you if you’re not confident in doing it yourself.
Keep Your Health in Check Even without Insurance
Don’t let the rising costs of healthcare keep you from being healthy and enjoying life. Follow these tips, and you can get access to your prescriptions without insurance for a lot less.
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