Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Prescription Coupons

Frequently check for new prescription coupons for your different name brand medications.  Sometimes programs that existed in the previous year will be renewed or even increased in value.  For example last year Lipitor had a card that would take $10-$15 off the cost of the copay for the medication, while this year you can sign up for a new card on their website which decreases your copay by $50.  The main reason they did this was because the generic version will be coming out and they want people to stay on Lipitor brand name as long as possible, because even though the copays for you could be the same because of the discount card, your insurance company and the pharmacy are paying quite a pretty penny for the full cost of the medication.

Just another reminder to always be vigilant about those discounts and coupons!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

At Pharmacy

Ok, after all the other steps now it is time to finally go to the pharmacy.  At this stage depending on your medication/time available/transit options you will want to shop around, especially for expensive medications.  Also good to double check for the giftcards the different stores offer for brining in new prescriptions.

1) Shop Around: It is good at this stage to shop around, make sure you have all your cards and coupons on everything done and ready.  You'll want to bring your different discount cards to make sure the pharmacy takes them and which gets you the lowest price, as well as what programs they have there.
2) Staff: Be smart about shopping around, what you're doing will create extra work for the staff and might piss them off, especially if they're not good with insurances and coupons and such.  Come at a time later in the day when the pharmacy is slow, not only will you be helped faster but the staff is more likely to be more thorough in helping you.  Try to go at the same time each week or find someone on staff you usually deal with, personal connection means they'll know what you're looking for more.  TIP, if they've done a good job and saved you the money, give them a dollar or two, don't be a cheapass.  This will gain you further points and make them more likely to help you in the future.
3) Talk with the Pharmacist: Ask them if there are cheaper medications in the same class of drugs, along with any ideas they might have to save money on your medications.  Sometimes the pharmacist or even pharmacy techs will know something or remember something your doctor doesn't.  It is worth your time and also more reason to go when the pharmacy is slow and they will give more time to you.
4) Coupons: Yet again, drug reps also visit and mail the pharmacy coupons and drug discount cards that are specific to each rep's medications.  Alot of pharmacy do not pay attention to these at all and some will toss them away or file them somewhere, but again it doesn't hurt to ask the question.

In upcoming posts we being to enter the hardmode, where things take more effort constantly on your part and requiring you to be smart and remember the other steps.
Also if you ever have any questions just comment and I'll answer them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Poverty Level Programs

This section I don't know about as much since it takes so much more work and quite often you need to be fairly poor to be able to enroll in them, but it's always worth a look and doesn't hurt to apply.

Many drug companies offer a variety of patient assistance programs for patients that don't make enough money to afford continually taking the medications which they need.  There are a great variety to these programs from company to company, age group, and other factors.  Ideally you should go to each medication's website to see what programs are offered in addition to the manufacturer's main website to find programs they offer.

The 2 sites which I find are the best if you don't know how to look for programs or to see the variety of manufacturer programs for your medications are:
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Patient Assistance

I always recommend using both sites to make sure you see all programs for your medications.  Be prepared to fill out paperwork and go back to the doctor for them to fill out paperwork as well depending on which program and the directions offered.

EXTRA WORK: If you really want to save more money look into county and state services for low-income as well, sometimes counties will have a health plan that you can take part in if you don't make alot of money.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Prescription Discount Cards

Now this is where some uninsured or un-informed people start to run into some trouble and don't get their full money worth.
There are many prescription discount cards advertised online, however most cards will give different discounts depending on medications and pharmacy. Before you go to your pharmacy keep these ones in mind, if you can print them out ahead of time.
1) AAA: If you are a member of AAA they offer a modest prescription discount, usually not the best compared with others but fairly basic.
2) Universal Rx: Discount processor that quite a few online discount cards work through you can print out one from Rx101 .  Also not usually the best, occasionally better than other discounts.
These next three are generally the best I've found for most medications.
3) National Association of Counties: If your county participates in your program you can easily use this SITE to locate and find to print it out.
4) Una Rx Card: Frequently one of the best cards to use giving the best discounts. Can be gotten from this SITE.
5) Smart Rx Card: I currently have paper copies of this one and will be updating as soon as I find a place online for people to print them out. UPDATE: Make your own card using this SITE

One of the great thing about alot of these discount cards is alot of them can be combined with coupons if you lack insurance.  Always keep that in mind.

IMPORTANT:  Even if you have insurance, if you followed the other steps and your doctor gave you a 90 day supply and it's a generic, sometimes it will be cheaper to use the discount card or the program the drug store offers instead of paying your $5 or $10 co-pay for only 1 month worth of medication.  Frequently I have seen generic 90 day supplies go for under $10 using these discount programs.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

After Doc, Before Pharmacy

Some people just directly take their prescriptions or have their doctors fax or call in their prescriptions to the pharmacy.  If you're trying to make the most of your money it's best to take some time and wait before you take it in and do these steps.
1) Activate: Quite a few of the free trial or money off coupons the doctor will give you in the last step require verification and activation before they can be used, look over your card/coupon the doctor handed you to make sure you understand how much it is supposed to save you and that it is activated before you bring it in.
2) Gift Card: Many drug store chains offer $25 gift cards if you bring them a new prescription, while this is not an instant savings it's still $25 more than you would have had, and if you really have a prefered pharmacy, you can always get them to transfer it to that one later.  Just go into your prefered pharmacy and they'll do the work to get your prescription to their store.
3) Coupons: Yes at this stage you also can print out your own coupons for medications online, I find to be the best, I send all the links I find to there.  However there's more to this step than initially seems and I will be addressing it in a detailed manner in my next post.
4) Prescription Discount Cards: For those who do not have insurance this is always a good idea, but how to choose the best one? That as well needs an entire post dedicated to it, so continue to follow me to learn more detailed information!
EXTRA HARD MODE: Are you poor? Below the poverty line poor? Many drug companies offer their own programs, this is quite a bit difficult and takes quite a bit of work, so that too will be it's own blog post.
We're beginning to get into the more complex tips and tricks of saving money in the pharmacy now :P

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Doc ...more

Oops forgot about this part earlier today in dealing when you're at the doc
5) 90 day supply: If you can get the doctor to give you a 90 day supply with refills that's the best for keeping your options open when it come to where to take the prescription or use mailorder.  Also generally with prescriptions the more pills/tablets/quantity you're able to get at 1 time the lower the cost per pill/tablet turns out to be.  This will be explained even more in the pharmacy section


Ok so you're at your doctor and they just prescribed you a medication, there are several routes this can go now to save you money and time.

1) Samples: Depending on the type of medication or if drug reps visit your doc they might have samples or even trials you can try of the medications, this is also good because you'll know if you have a reaction or if it's worth buying anyway

2) Combinations: Review your current medications with your doctor, quite often there are combination medications that have 2 in 1.  Examples are Caduet which is a combination of Lipitor and Norvasc, or Diovan-HCTC which is a combination of Diovan and Hydrochlorothiazide.
-this is also good for older people who have trouble remembering to take many different medications
Combining multiple drugs into fewer prescriptions will allow you to essentially pay 1 copay for 2 medications, and even cash price generally is cheaper this way

3) Generics: Don't be shy telling your doctor you want the generic, sometimes doctors personally prefer brandnames or they prescribe brand to please a drug rep and earn some extra money

4) Coupons/Cards: Sometimes doctors will also have discount cards or coupons that they have from the companies, this is especially true for dermatologists who will frequently have these for medications like Doryx, Aczone, Ziana and other skin medications, most insurance will not cover these and the discounts are huge

Extra work: When you're at the pharmacy ask if there are other medications in the same class of drugs as the one the doctor prescribed, quite often these can be just as good
In the end though don't be an idiot about it, and hassle your doc too much if you don't understand it, if the doc has a good reason for you being on a specific medication even if there are cheaper ones in the same class of medication just ask why and learn more about your own health :P