Prescription drugs can take a big bite out of your budget. Your Medicare prescription drug plan may offer cost-saving benefits that you may not be aware of. Also, some pharmacies offer discount programs or savings on 60- or 90-day refills.
It could pay to check into opportunities to help keep more cash in your pocket. Here are some ideas.
How to get Medicare prescription drug discounts
- Prescription drug discount program. Your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan might offer a prescription drug discount program. This could be a separate program from your plan benefits or it might be included in membership. Check your plan information or call your plan’s customer service number to find out more.
- Pharmacy discount programs. Some pharmacies offer discount programs to regular customers. Talk to your pharmacist and ask if they have a program you might qualify for. Talk with your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan about how a pharmacy discount card might work with your plan benefits.
- Prescription discount cards. Prescription discount cards are available through some companies and organizations. You may pay a small yearly fee to get a card. You can check online or ask your pharmacist for prescription discount cards that may be available to you. Be aware that these cards cannot be used in conjunction with your plan benefits.
- Pharmaceutical assistance programs (PAPs). Many drug companies have programs that offer discounts on the brand-name drugs they make. You can learn about programs by calling the company that makes your drug.
How to save money with your Medicare drug plan
- Pick a network pharmacy. Your Medicare prescription drug plans may have a pharmacy network. This is a group of pharmacies that offer extra savings and discounts to plan members. Your plan might also have a special arrangement with certain “preferred” pharmacies that could mean additional savings. Check your plan materials or call a plan representative for information about network pharmacies.
- Follow the formulary. Your Medicare prescription drug plan probably has a formulary that lists the drugs it will cover. Drugs on your plan’s formulary list cost you less than drugs not on the list. Many formularies are tiered. A tiered formulary divides drugs into groups based mostly on cost. Usually, the lower the tier, the lower your co-pay may be. You might be able to switch from a high-tier drug to one on a lower tier to help lower your costs. Ask your doctor if this is an option for you.
- Give generics a chance. Generic drugs are the same as brand-name drugs in safety, strength, quality and how they work.1 They usually cost less, too. The lower cost of generic drugs could help you avoid the Medicare Part D coverage gap or pay less when you’re in it.
- Make mail-order your pharmacy choice. Many Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans offer a mail-order pharmacy service. Co-pays may be lower than getting refills at the pharmacy. You may save even more by ordering a 90-day supply of your drugs at one time.
Whether you use a pharmacy discounted price, a discount card or coupon, or your Medicare Part D coverage, it all boils down to the Medicare drug coverage gap and what your total out-of-pocket costs could end up being annually.
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