Soaring drug costs: what you can do
For many seniors, drug costs are a major concern. Health insurers, drug makers, and pharmacy benefit managers have put the squeeze on ailing Americans, caring more about bottom-line profits than helping others. The resulting dilemma means America's big pharmaceutical industry has put fixed-income seniors in a bind: how do we pay for the medicines we need?
-Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about the cost of medications prescribed to you. Often times, your doctor can prescribe a comparable drug at a fraction of the cost. Moreover, generic labels are always cheaper. Tell them your concerns and let them help you, this may include eliminating unnecessary medications or supplements, or access to patient assistance programs to help offset costs. Also, ask your doctor if you could split the pills safely, so they last longer.
-Shop around. Comparing prices can save your pocketbook. Some pharmacies, like CVS, compare drug prices at the counter, just ask. Also, look online; Costco.com, AARP.com, Drugstore.com, and Familymeds.com are top companies known for low drug prices. Oftentimes, retailers will match prices.
-Avoid international, online drug sites. Many of these sites are unregulated, counterfeit, or sell contaminated medicines. Only buy from sites that have the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site seal or VIPPS.
-Avoid free samples or coupons from your doctor. Free samples are name brand and can be expensive. Coupons can change the structure of how you pay for your prescriptions through your insurance. By using the coupon, you may ultimately end up paying more out-of-pocket.
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