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The Trump Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services are working to reduce prescription drug costs; however, Big Pharma is not listening. These pharmaceutical companies are synonymous with price gouging the American public and insurance companies to make unprecedented profit margins.

They are notorious for increasing drug prices by over 100 percent from year to year for certain medications that people depend on to live, such as insulin and EpiPens. In other instances, they will not manufacture drugs that could easily save lives at an affordable price because they will make more money by offering less effective drugs at a higher price.

These practices are considered highly despicable and unethical by most human beings worldwide; however, very little impact has been made to stop these continual price hikes. And people in the US pay up to 16 times more for the same prescription drugs sold in other countries. President Trump has claimed that these companies charge US patients more so that people in other countries are able to pay less.

Until the US government places more emphasis on protecting the patient rather than the pharmaceutical companies, just like nearly every other country on the planet, you can expect to pay more for medications. Fortunately, you can find ways to save on drug costs.


Rising Drug Costs

There are several reasons why many people choose medications that are vital to their lives or that are simply needed for their daily needs. However, not all people in need have the opportunity to simply pay for their medication. This can have different causes.

For example, if you have certain income or resource constraints, you need to find a way to get your medicine. For people with limited income, there is help from Medicare for which you need to qualify. The cost of prescription medicines can be covered by Medicare. Depending on your income, Medicare will determine how much you pay and how much you will pay to cover the costs.

In 2018, the cost will be no more than $8.35 for each branded medicine. For each generic, the cost is less than $3.35.

In 2018, you qualify if you have an annual income of up to $18,210 ($24,690 for married couples) and up to $14,100 in resources ($28,150 for married couples).

If you do not qualify for the benefit, you may receive other programs in your state that will pay you the cost of your prescription drugs. For more information, contact your state health insurance assistance program (SHIP) or the Medicaid office responsible for you.

How does the program differentiate resources?

Countable resources are:

  • Money in a savings or checking account
  • bonds
  • holdings

Among the resources that are not included are:

  • Your apartment
  • A car
  • If you've set aside $1500 for your funeral expenses.
  • Furniture
  • Other personal and household effects

How do I apply for additional help?

Some people are automatically entitled to additional help. You are automatically entitled if you have Medicare and meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • You have full Medicaid coverage
  • You get help from your state Medicaid program, which pays you a Part-B premium (from a Medicare savings program)
  • You get benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

However, if you qualify automatically this year, you may not be eligible for additional help next year. These changes may occur as your income and resource ratios change. As a result, you may no longer qualify for these programs. On a piece of grey paper, you will receive a notification by the end of September if you no longer qualify automatically. To find out if you still have the opportunity to apply for support, you can reapply for a specific one despite receiving the letter.

If the amount of the co-payment changes in the coming year, you will receive a message on orange paper in October. You will receive all notifications by post.

You will receive the same level of additional assistance if you do not receive notification from Medicare. All amounts are the same as for the current year.

Are you paying the right amount?

If you're unsure whether you're paying the right amount, call your medication plan. These can help you to give information, to control the current level of the due help you should get. Get the contact information for your plan by searching by the name of the plan or by using the personalized search found in the general search.

If I paid too much, will I get the money back?

If you have paid for prescriptions, you may be able to get some money back because you are qualified for extra help and not enrolled in a Medicare drug plan. Name your plan and keep your receipts. You can contact the Medicare Limited Income Newly Eligible Transition (NET) Program at 1-800-783-1307 (TTY: 711) for more information.

What other ways to reduce prescription drug costs are there?

Consider choosing a generic. In the US, pharmaceutical companies can patent new drugs for twenty years. This means that patients who have prescribed those drugs will have to pay brand prices and won't get out. When time runs out, other companies can create a generic version that is sold for much less. Consequently, switching to a generic is one of the best ways to save money.

Whether generic drugs actually have the same effect as branded drugs is often discussed in the media. The result is unfounded in most concerns. Since the cheaper drugs are regulated by the FOOD & DRUG administration, the generic drugs must have the same active ingredients as the branded versions. However, the non-active ingredients of a generic drug need not be identical.

The cost-benefit comparison usually shows that small risks predominate. The differences between branded and generic drugs rarely have an effect on patients. In the end, it is almost always recommended to try the generic because the concerns are reduced by regulating the FOOD & DRUG administration. Purity, efficacy and safety are a plus for the low-cost generic drug.

  • Change Health Insurance Plans
  • Understand Your Insurance Policy
  • Change Health Insurance Plans
  • Communicate With Your Doctor and Pharmacist
  • Generic Brands
  • Medication Therapy Management
  • Online Ordering
  • Preventative Care
  • Seek State Assistance
  • Shop Around
  • Switch Brands
  • Federal and Manufacturer Discounts

Change Health Insurance Plans

If you are spending too much money on prescription drugs, you might want to change your health insurance plan. Some plans are more user-friendly for people who require a lot of medication than others. Your needs may change from year to year; therefore, insurance providers will allow you to change your plans periodically. Keep in mind that you may not be able to change your plan more than once a year, so be mindful of the dates on which you are permitted to change your plans. The Medicare Part D prescription drug policy can save people up to thousands of dollars each year in prescriptions. If you are part of Medicare, this could be your saving grace.

Understand Your Insurance Policy

Do you understand your insurance policy? Most people do not because policies are made to be highly complicated and confusing. Before you accept any prescription, understand which medications are covered by your insurance and which ones are not covered. Those that are not covered will require that you pay the amount in full; however, most medications are offered by several different companies.

You should be able to find a prescription that is covered by your insurance. This does not mean it will be the best prescription for your needs; however, it will be less expensive. If they are covered by your insurance, you may still have to pay a copay or at least part of the cost rather than everything. Be sure you understand your deductible. And keep in mind that you may be limited in the pharmacy you can use under certain policies and that some prescriptions do not offer cheaper alternatives at all.

Change Health Insurance Plans

If you are spending too much money on prescription drugs, you might want to change your health insurance plan. Some plans are more user-friendly for people who require a lot of medication than others. Your needs may change from year to year; therefore, insurance providers will allow you to change your plans periodically. Keep in mind that you may not be able to change your plan more than once a year, so be mindful of the dates on which you are permitted to change your plans. The Medicare Part D prescription drug policy can save people up to thousands of dollars each year in prescriptions. If you are part of Medicare, this could be your saving grace.

Communicate With Your Doctor and Pharmacist

Your doctor should be your biggest advocate and protector; however, you must communicate with them about your financial limitations. They are likely to be more than happy to work with you to find a prescription medicine strategy that is covered by your insurance or one that you can afford if the medication they recommend is too expensive. If you are on a tight budget, always ask for the generic brands if they are available.

It is not always possible to know whether or not a medication is covered by your insurance until you arrive at the pharmacist. Again, speak with the pharmacist to find a drug equivalent that is covered by your insurance. Many of the best pharmacists will phone the doctor’s office on your behalf to resolve the matter. You may have to wait a few days; however, you will not have to pay the price originally quoted.

Generic Brands

If a pharmaceutical company has a patent on a prescription drug, you will have to pay the price they establish for up to 20 years. You might expect that it would become less expensive over time; however, the opposite is far too often true. Sadly, without competition in the market, you frequently have no other options until this patent expires.

Once it does expire, any other drug manufacturer can make the same medication as a generic offering at a far more affordable price. These are not inferior drugs. They have the exact same active ingredients that make the drug effective at a fraction of the cost. These medications must go through the same FDA testing as the brand name; therefore, they are all perfectly safe and often recommended for people on a budget.

Medication Therapy Management

A Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program is designed to determine whether or not certain drugs work effectively for your needs. You will work with either or both your doctor and your pharmacist to monitor the success or lack thereof you experience with various medications. You may have to switch medications due to complications from side effects, or it might be determined that another brand is equally as effective for less money. By following an MTM program, you can save money on medication and ensure the drugs are doing the job they are supposed to do.

Online Ordering

A shift is taking place in prescription drug ordering. In fact, a growing number of pharmacies and health plans encourage you to order your prescriptions online to save money and time. In many instances, you can receive a three-month prescription at once rather than to have to return to the pharmacy each month. With this approach, you will save even more money and time. 

It is important that you only order from safe and legitimate online pharmacies. Fake online pharmacies often pose as legitimate businesses and may even send you prescriptions for a significantly reduced price. These are often counterfeit drugs that lack the active ingredients real medications possess to be effective. Learn the signs of a fake online pharmacy before you place an order and only use reputable pharmacies.

Preventative Care

The best way to save money on medication is to follow a preventative care plan so that you do not require certain medications in the first place. Of course, there are many circumstances when you might require prescriptions drugs and no amount of preventative care will help. However, in many circumstances, from high blood pressure to certain cancers, illness and disease can be prevented. 

To save money on prescription drugs, it is essential that you do as much of the following as possible:

  • Eat Right
  • Exercise
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • Reduce Stres
  • Drink Enough Water
  • Eliminate Processed Foods
  • Walk More Than You Sit
  • Do Not Smoke Or Do Illegal Drugs
  • Greatly Minimize Your Alcohol Consumption
  • Get Plenty Of Sleep

Seek State Assistance

If you struggle to make ends meet, you likely qualify for state assistance. It is important to note that each state will be different, and some states are far more helpful than others. Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) should be more than helpful. They will help find you assistance for which you qualify, and they can help in any number of additional areas, such as filing insurance claims and helping with the Medicare system. SHIP assistance is available in all 50 states, D.C. and some US territories.
Shop Around
Most pharmacies hire pharmacy benefits managers (PBM) to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. The overall purpose of the PBM is to lower the price tags on all medications that a pharmacy provides to the American people. This helps to increase competition for medication pricing to some extent. The price of the same drug is likely to be different at Wal-Mart than it is at Walgreens. As such, it is important to shop around for the best pricing. These PBMs also work to ensure that the medications received in the pharmacy are not fake medications. It is incredibly important to inform your pharmacist and your doctor if a drug does not seem to be working for this exact reason.
Switch Brands
Another exceptional way to save money on prescription drugs is to change brands. You do not have to remain loyal to one brand. Many different medication prescriptions offer a solution in a different way to the same disease or illness. If a particular brand is out of your price range, speak with your doctor and pharmacist to change brands and to create a new medication strategy for your needs. 

If you use these practices to reduce your medication costs, you can save anywhere from 23 percent to 85 percent on prescription out-of-pocket expenses. With these monetary savings, you will improve your quality of life and greatly reduce your day-to-day stresses.

Federal and Manufacturer Discounts

Surprisingly, many drug manufacturers offer prescription assistance programs. These are highly restrictive to people with low incomes or those facing financial hardships. It is important to note that not all manufacturers offer these assistance programs. Of the programs that do exist, some will offer a discount and others will provide a prepaid card to use at your pharmacy or drugs for free provided by your doctor at their office. The federal government also provides assistance to certain low-income individuals. One example is the Extra Help program dedicated to Medicare patients with low incomes.

What is possible via manufacturer assistance?

If you cannot afford a prescription, try to contact the pharmaceutical companies directly. For people who cannot afford their medication for various reasons, drug manufacturers often offer a version of a prescription-only utility program. If you are taking several medications, you will have to be prepared for more running time, as you will have to contact the manufacturer for each experiment and therefore different auxiliary programs will be offered. In addition, it is possible that you can get discounts. In addition, the conditions for the patient assistance programs are very different.

For example, the manufacturing company Otsuka has a savings program on the Abilify website that offers an additional payment of $5 for the branded version of the popular antipsychotic. Simply print out the pharmacy savings card and present it when you pick it up. Of course, the offer is only valid as long as the company grants a discount.

Is price shopping worthwhile in order to get your medicines for less money?

Not every person is entitled to income-related assistance programmes. If you don't qualify, you can look around for your medications just like you would for any other product you purchase. This means you can try a variety of pharmacies or big box and club shops. In addition, you have some options available through discount prescription services such as ScriptSave, WellRx and FamilyWize.

What are discount prescription services?

Often one of these services can give you a better rate than what you would pay in cash. Sometimes that's better than having your costs covered by insurance. You may need to print out a voucher or savings card to present at the pharmacy. There are also companies where you can order directly online or have medication sent directly to your home.

Here are some discount prescription services:

1st Blink-Health

Pay online, pick up at your local pharmacy. Find the lowest price in a local store with Blink Health's online tool – from Walmart to Kroger to your independent pharmacist. You pay via Blink, go to the pharmacy, present your proof of purchase and go home with your medication.

2nd GoodRx

Compare your prescription costs in local pharmacies online with GoodRx. If you find the cheapest price, e.g. at your local CVS or Walgreens, take the GoodRx voucher and bring it to the pharmacy. Present the voucher and you are ready. You can also sign up for Gold GoodRx, which offers even lower prices for members who pay a subscription fee. To access the service discounts, you will be charged a monthly membership fee after a 30-day free trial.

3rd HealthWarehouse

HealthWarehouse brings your prescriptions – and discounts – directly to your home. Search online for your medicines, place them in your shopping cart and complete the order process. Have your doctor send your prescriptions directly to the company and as soon as they are processed, your medicines will be shipped to your home.

4th Costco

You do not need to be a member to use the pharmacy, but be careful not to take all the medication you need with you. Check cash prices online and check with your local Costco to complete your prescription.

5th FamilyWize

FamilyWize transfers the savings to you with a prescription discount card. Check the prices of what is available online at your local pharmacy. Then visit the stores with your mobile or printed discount card in hand to save money.

6th script save WellRx

With the ScriptSave WellRx discount card or app you can pick up your medication (and some savings) at your pharmacy. Compare drug prices online, and when you are ready to buy, download the included voucher to present it to your pharmacist in person.


Finally, it can be said that you can actually save on medication. As described above, there are many different prerequisites for funding programs. In addition, you can make significant savings when comparing prices. Whether the effort is worth it, however, also depends on the location. If you live in rural areas, medicines will always be significantly more expensive than in the big city. In general, however, health care in America is still far too expensive and one of the main factors is medication.

If you are one of the nearly 50 percent of Americans who have had to take at least one prescription drug in the last 30 days, you will probably not be surprised that about twenty percent of health care costs are for drugs. The total costs are more than 400 billion dollars a year.

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