If you’ve picked up a prescription lately, you’ve seen firsthand that medication costs in the U.S. are rising. Drug costs for Americans are expected to increase nearly 12 percent in 2017. What’s more, drug prices continue to rise faster than either wages or the cost of living.
It’s discouraging, but, as a consumer, you’re not helpless. There are ways you can save personally on your drugs and also make choices that don’t contribute to higher premiums.
1. Buy generic.
Brand name drugs are, on average, 80 to 85 percent more expensive than their generic equivalents. But, there is no medical difference between brand name and generic drugs. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration requires generic prescription and brand name drugs to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form and route of administration. Generic drugs may come in a different shape, color or packaging, but there is no medical difference between them.
So, why the price difference? Companies that create the drugs spend time and money on research and often have big marketing budgets. Generic brands can produce drugs without those costs, which means lower prices for you.
You can use BCBSND’s online pharmacy tool to see if your drugs are covered and how much they’ll cost. This tool also shows what you could save by switching to a generic drug if you’re not already using one.
Generics save your health insurance company money as well. Why should you care? Because higher drug prices lead to higher insurance premiums.
2. Shop around.
Rather than just going to your neighborhood pharmacy, compare prices using our online pharmacy tool. You may be surprised to see price differences between pharmacies, even for generics.
3. Request a greater supply.
Ask your doctor for 90-day supply of drugs rather than a 30-day supply. This will save you copays and trips to the pharmacy.
4. Choose a plan that matches your prescription needs.
If you have a chronic condition or take many medications, try to avoid a high-deductible plan. You may pay a higher premium, but you’ll have lower out-of-pocket expenses. Shop and compare plans now for the next enrollment period.
5. Get medications delivered.
Having medications delivered to your door can save you not only a trip to the pharmacy but also money. Use our online pharmacy tool to view delivery options and pricing.
Check to see if there are generic drugs available for your brand name prescription. Search medications now.
Need a health plan that covers your health care needs? Shop and compare for the next enrollment period.