Understanding why your medications are so costly doesn’t solve the problem for you. You still need the prescription drugs you do and still have limited money to spend on them.
Fortunately, there are a few options that you have to help bring your medication costs down:
1. Ask about generics or other alternatives.
As I-MAK’s research emphasizes, some of the prescription drugs you need simply won’t have generic options available. But many types of drugs do, and doctors don’t always think to mention the generic options when writing out a prescription. So be proactive about asking.
Even when a generic option isn’t available for a specific medication, you may be able to start by trying a different, more affordable drug that treats the same thing. Ask your doctor to go over all of your options so you can make a more informed decision.
2. Get the right Medicare plan.
Do your research to figure out the different Medicare prescription plans available in your area. Specifically, ask providers which of the prescriptions your doctor recommends they cover and how much they cost. Just because a plan covers a particular drug doesn’t mean that makes it affordable. Enbrel, an arthritis drug included in I-MAK’s report about over-patenting, still typically costs over $1,000 for patients with various Medicare prescription plans.
Nonetheless, the right Medicare plan can potentially save you a lot of money on the main drugs you need.
3. Look for coupons and discounts.
Pharmacy discount cards and coupon sites can save you up to 80% on the cost of prescription drugs. Some pharmacies also have their own discount programs that can help you bring medication costs down as well.
Do some research into available coupons and discounts for your medication and ask your pharmacist about any recommendations they have.
4. Look into assistance programs.
Both drug companies and government entities sometimes provide assistance programs to help seniors out with the cost of their medications.
Check the prescription drug provider’s website to see if they offer any assistance programs. Healthfinder.gov and NeedyMeds both offer resources for helping you find relevant programs you may qualify for.
What Seniors Can Do About Rising Medication Costs
Prescription drug prices are both a big problem for individuals struggling to make ends meet and a larger societal problem that’s bad for the U.S. In addition to looking for ways to make your own drugs more affordable, consider how you can help be a part of the bigger solution.
According to Amin, we should all be asking: “Why is it that seniors in the European markets are able to get access to a number of these drugs… and yet in the United States, they’re not able to?”
“The policies that the United States… doesn’t favor the consumers, it’s largely in favor of the corporation,” he explains. “Seniors need to be able to speak to their representatives.”
If you want access to the drugs you need at better rates and you want your children to be able to access them when the time comes as well, call your representatives and tell them so. Amin recommends calling and asking, “Why are companies able to have these monopoly strongholds on products for so long?”
Legislative solutions can be slow, but they’re unlikely to happen at all without pressure from the people most affected by the problem. Sharing your personal experience can bring a human face to the problem, which might help spur your representative to act
Reprinted from A Place for Mom