According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 48.5 percent of the U.S. population has used at least one prescription drug within the last 30 days. Close to 10 percent of the population has used 5 or more prescription drugs during that same period of time. As some prescriptions can cost as much as a few hundred dollars for each dose, it is no surprise people are struggling to afford the medications they need. Insurance does not cover all types of medications. Even when insurance does offer assistance with co-pays for prescribed meds, it will not necessarily bring the price down to an affordable level.
If you are willing to do a little shopping around, there are ways to get free or extremely low-priced prescriptions. Mobile apps, pharmacy discount cards and coupons are all good tools an individual can use reduce the cost of medications.
Options to Help You Get Free or Lower Priced Prescriptions
Most prescriptions can be filled through your doctor’s in-house pharmacy, through your local pharmacy or online. Not all stores and pharmacies have the same prices. Meijer, for example, offers certain types of antibiotics at no cost to those with a valid doctor’s prescription. No insurance or co-payment is required. Antibiotics currently being offered by Meijer free of charge include Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, Ciprofloxican, Ampicilin, Penicillin VK and more.
Meijer is not the only pharmacy that offers this assistance. TheKrazyCouponLady.com notes there are at least five other pharmacies (Publix, Giant Eagle, Price Chopper, Harris Teeter and Schnucks) that offer a free, 14-day supply of certain antibiotics as well.
Apps, such as the LowestMed app, can be downloaded onto your phone to help you find the lowest local price for your particular medication. GoodRx also has an app and website through which customers can compare prices and obtain coupons to dramatically reduce the cost of a prescription. Manufacturer discounts and information on generic drug options is also available. In some instances, a free GoodRx coupon may reduce the cost of a medication by close to 80 percent.
Drugs.com offers a Drug Discount Card which can be used at any one of 63,000 participating pharmacies to receive a significant reduction in price. These discount cards can be used instead of insurance in cases where deductibles are too high, your insurance plan’s medication cap has been met or you simply want a lower price than is offered by your insurance coverage plan.
Medications: Why You Need to Shop Around Before You Buy
Prescribed drugs can be very expensive, particularly for individuals who take multiple medications or who are on a limited income. Shopping around for free or lower cost meds before you buy will not only help you be able to afford otherwise costly prescriptions, but you will be less likely to be forced into the position of forgoing one medication due to cost. As some medications require a wind-down period to avoid possible side effects, it can be a health risk to suddenly stop any medication. Always read the warnings on your medications before you make the decision to stop taking the prescribed dose to avoid this health risk.
- CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/drug-use-therapeutic.htm
- Meijer: http://help.meijer.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/81/kw/list%20of%20free%20antibiotics/session/L3RpbWUvMTQxNzc4Nzc4MC9zaWQvaUwzeVc3OW0%3D
- TheKrazyCouponLady.com: http://thekrazycouponlady.com/tips/finance/6-pharmacies-offer-free-antibiotics/