5 Savvy Ways to Reduce Your Prescription Drug Costs

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  • Generic drugs are just as effective as name-brand drugs, but they're significantly cheaper.
  • Pharmacies in your area may offer different prices for the same drug, so it's worth comparison shopping.
  • Pharmaceutical companies, the federal government, and state governments offer assistance programs for low-income individuals who can't afford their medications.

Prescription drugs cost Americans an average of $1,432 per person in 2021, and good old inflation keeps driving that number higher. Yes, insurance covers some of the cost. But too many still wind up making tough choices between a prescription drug copay and other household necessities.

A lot depends on the kind of drugs you need and your insurance policy. But the following five moves could help you reduce how much you spend on your medications in 2024.

1. Consider generics

Generic drugs have the same active ingredients as their name-brand counterparts, but they're often significantly cheaper. Whenever possible, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the possibility of switching to a generic form of your regular medications.

2. Compare prices

Your go-to pharmacy may not have the cheapest rates all the time. Check with other pharmacies in the area or even mail-order pharmacies to see if they offer lower rates on your medications. If so, consider having your prescriptions transferred there instead.

3. See if the manufacturer can assist you

Several pharmaceutical companies have payment assistance programs for those who cannot afford the medicine's regular price. There are usually eligibility requirements you must meet, and the benefits vary by company and drug. You could get discounts, copay assistance, or even free medications, though, so any hoops you have to jump through may be worth it.

4. Try other discount programs

You may have heard about programs like GoodRx or SingleCare that give you discounts just by scanning a card at your local pharmacy. It only takes a minute to check these sites, and the savings can be significant -- up to 95% in some cases.

5. Investigate government assistance programs

The federal government and many state governments have assistance programs of their own to help low-income individuals get their medications without draining their bank accounts. Like pharmaceutical company programs, there are usually eligibility requirements you must meet to participate and benefits can vary. Contact your state's health department or social services agency to learn what options are available to you.

If you have any questions about what your health insurance or any assistance programs cover, it's best to contact the providers directly. And don't forget to re-evaluate your payment strategy whenever your insurance, income, or health needs change.

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