If it feels like your prescription drugs are getting more expensive, know that it’s not in your head. And it’s not normal economic inflation either! The fact is, the average American spends $1,208 per year on prescription drugs (latest year data available: 2016). That’s a 119% increase from $1,014 in 2013 and a staggering 313% increase from the $385 spent per year in 1997.
In less than two decades, prescription drug spending increased more than 3x.
And, no, it’s not simply a matter of Americans consuming more prescription drugs. A study published earlier this year in Health Affairs revealed that from 2008 to 2016, the costs of oral and injectable brand-name drugs increased by 9.2 percent and 15.1 percent respectively.
How Can I Get Lower Prices on My Prescription Medications?
While prices are increasing, patients may have some options for for getting lower prices. Not all pharmacies are created equal. Prices can vary significantly on some drugs. (And don’t always assume that the big box store pharmacies have the best deals!)
Want to save money?
Log into your account with your health insurer. Many insurers offer a tool for looking up prescription medication prices in your area. In some cases, these prices may even be updated on a daily basis, providing accurate and actionable data that you can use to keep more money in your pocket. (Note: it’s worth remembering that price may not accurately represent your actual actual out-of-pocket costs. Be sure you understand how your health insurance provider or Medicare plan reimburses covered medications.)
Learn to Ask the Right Questions
You don’t know what you don’t know, right? If you want to save money on your prescriptions in Nashville, you might be able to lower your monthly medication costs simply by asking the right questions of your doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group! Jot down these questions and take them with you to your next appointment. Depending on your medications and insurance, one or more of these questions just may unlock the answer to produce significant savings in your health care costs…
#1 Is there a generic version of this drug?
Sure, you know that many name brand prescription drugs also have generic versions. But did you know that these generic drugs are required by law to have the same active ingredients and meet the same quality standards? When it comes to generics, they can be every bit as effective and safe as the name brands… just cheaper!
#2 Should I be ordering in bulk?
Purchasing a three-month supply of prescriptions is cheaper per dose than buying just a 30-day supply, right?
Well… it depends…
While buying in bulk might make sense a lot of the time, it doesn’t make sense when the price of a drug temporarily spikes. Sometimes it’s better to ride out the increased price, purchasing just a small supply, and waiting until prices settle back down before buying the larger quantity.
#3 Can someone review my list of meds?
If you take several prescription medications, you may want to see a Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Pharmacist. An MTM pharmacist can evaluate your medications, review your doctor’s notes, and suggest lower cost medications, lower dosage, or perhaps even find ways to combine medications.
#4 Is there a different way of getting this medicine?
Many drugs can be taken orally or injected. Many medications can be taken once a day (or even once a week) through extended-release, while others are taken multiple times a day with immediate-release. Your doctor may be able to change the format of your prescription in order to maximize your cost savings.