A recent study revealed that more than one-third of Americans say the cost of their medication has prevented them from filling a prescription. So, how can you save money on your medication and prescriptions?
Whether or not you’re a part of that statistic – there are cost-saving options. If you ask the right healthcare professionals the right questions, you can take charge of your finances and health at the same time. Experts from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona offer three tips to save money on your medications.
Most Influential Women: Dr. Christine Bracamonte Wiggs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Who can help you save money on medication?
Your doctor is the first line of defense to tackle affordability.If your doctor prescribes a medication, you can ask if there may be a generic or less-expensive brand-name drug that would work just as well. Generics typically cost between 20-70% less than brand names, according to estimates from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Your health plan
If you have pharmacy benefits, you can call the number on the back of your insurance card with any questions about medication costs. Some health plans offer price comparison tools that can show things like the price difference between generic and brand-name drugs, and which pharmacy will give you the best price for your meds. Some plans offer a 90-day supply mail-order/home delivery option that is often cheaper than getting monthly refills at the pharmacy – and you’ll typically be able to see the price difference with available comparison tools. Scroll down to the bottom of the article for information about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona’s comparison tools.
Think of your pharmacist as an advocate for making sure you get the best price. Pharmacists always ask: ‘Do you have any questions about your prescription?’ Instead of saying ‘no,’ and simply handing over your insurance card so they fill your prescription, take a few minutes to ask if there is a way you can save money. Pharmacists can call your doctor’s office to see if they can prescribe a generic or equally effective drug that is cheaper.
Understanding your medication
Both your doctor and pharmacist can also help you understand your medications – and why they’re necessary for you. This is especially important if you’re on multiple medications. Those living with diabetes, for example, may have underlying conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol that require them to take various meds.
Knowing the purpose of each medication can empower you to gain the most benefit from the drug. If you don’t know their purpose, you might think you can ration some to save money. But that may lead to adverse effects and could even land you in the hospital, which would end up costing you more in the long run. Education is key – don’t be afraid to ask the experts!
For Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona members
If you have pharmacy coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (AZ Blue) you can see exactly how much your medication will cost based on the latest status of your deductible, so you never have to worry about surprise medication costs.
We make it easy – all you have to do is log onto your member portal and select the “pharmacy” tab. Next, select “price a drug” and type in the name of the drug to find comparative pricing at nearby pharmacies.
Your doctor can price drugs in real-time, too! We give our AZ Blue network providers a tool to precheck how much a certain medication would cost a patient based on their specific health plan. If it’s high-priced, the doctor can determine if there are alternatives. This helps us support members in achieving their health goals while also impacting affordability.
To learn more, visit: Get the most out of your Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona pharmacy benefits | AZBlue