Saving Money on Medicines
Medicines can be costly. If they are too expensive for you, the doctor may be able to suggest less expensive alternatives. If the doctor does not know the cost, ask the pharmacist before filling the prescription. You can ask your doctor if there is a generic or other less expensive choice. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to a medical assistance program that can help with drug costs.
Ask your insurance company for a copy of your drug plan “formulary”—the list of all medicines covered by your insurance company—and bring it to your doctors’ appointments. Together, you and your doctor can evaluate the choice of medicines that will be most cost effective.
You might be thinking about buying your medicines online to save some money. It’s important to know which websites are safe and reliable. The Food and Drug Administration has safety tips for buying medicines and medical products online.
Some insurance drug plans offer special prices on medicines if you order directly from them rather than filling prescriptions at a pharmacy. Contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to learn about Medicare prescription drug plans that may help save you money, or review Medicare.gov Part D drug coverage. You can also contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program. If you are a veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs may also be able to help with your prescriptions.
Here are some websites that can provide additional assistance:
- Medicare Extra Help Program provides information about the Social Security assistance program and application process for the Medicare Part D subsidy.
- State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP) provides information about any available state-funded assistance programs for prescription drug costs.
- Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (PAP) provide information about pharmaceutical companies that offer assistance programs for the drugs they manufacture.
- Medicine Assistance Tool helps connect underinsured people with patient assistance programs for which they may be eligible.
This content is provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure that it is accurate, authoritative, and up to date.
Content reviewed: May 23, 2017