How to talk to your doctor about medication costs

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Like many people, you may not know how much a prescription costs until you get to the pharmacy. When you pick it up, you may be shocked by the high price.

Your doctor may prescribe you a medication without knowing how much it will cost you out of pocket or whether your insurance will cover it. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if you think your medication is too expensive.

“Your doctor may not think about high prescription costs when prescribing certain medications,” says Kyle Manera, an executive at Co-Immunity, a patient organization for people with chronic illnesses in Wichita, KS. If you don’t address it, he says, you may end up with a prescription that costs more than you expect.

How your doctor can save you money

In a recent survey, about 67% of people who spoke to their doctors about prescription costs said they were able to find a cheaper drug.

“Doctors can help by prescribing generic versions of drugs, 90-day supplies, or larger dosages that can be broken down into the right dose,” says Manera. “You may also be aware of various pharmaceutical programs designed to help lower the cost of your prescriptions.”

Here are some ways your doctor can help you reduce your costs.

Prescribe a generic. Ask your doctor to prescribe you a generic medication if one is available for the medication you need. Generic drugs have the same active ingredients as brand name drugs. And like brand name drugs, they are regulated by the FDA.

Using a generic form of medication can save a lot of money. It can cost up to 80% less than a branded version of the same drug.

Change your dosage. The cost of specific pills can be the same regardless of the dosage. Ask your doctor if it’s okay to pay for a higher dose, then split the pills in half. For example, if your doctor recommends 25 milligrams a day, ask if they can prescribe you 50 milligrams and you’ll take half a tablet a day. Many pills even come with a notch to help you distribute them evenly.

This isn’t always a good idea for all recipes, Manera says. Some medications such as B. those with time-release formulas do not work the same when you share pills. Always check this with your doctor first.

Change your medication. Ask your doctor if there is a similar, cheaper drug that has the same effect as the more expensive one. Different drugs treating the same condition can have very different costs.

You might be able to do without medication. In a 2017 survey, 70% of people who spoke to their doctor about prescription costs were able to avoid at least one of their medications. But never stop taking any medication that has been prescribed for you without first talking to your doctor.

Ask for a 90 day supply. One of the best ways to save money is to order a 90-day supply of your medication. You often pay less per dose if you buy a larger quantity. This tactic can work well with a drug you’re taking long-term.

“Buying a 90-day supply might be a bit early, but over 3 months can save you a lot of money,” says Manera.

You can try a mail-order pharmacy, which will ship a 90-day supply right to your home. Some retail pharmacies also offer the option of a 90-day supply.

Fewer visits to the pharmacy can also save you time.

use coupons. Ask your doctor if they have coupons available. Doctors often receive coupons from drug manufacturers. They can apply to branded prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs.

How to talk to your doctor about prescription costs

A recent survey shows that most doctors don’t discuss prescription costs with their patients. If you don’t normally talk to your doctor about the cost of medications, you may need to start the conversation.

At first you might feel embarrassed or embarrassed. When your appointments are in a rush, you may feel like you don’t have enough time. But talking about your concerns will help them understand your needs and provide you with better care, especially if you’re struggling with prescription costs.

“Medical providers are there to help you, not to judge,” says Manera. More affordable medications can help you stay on track and stay healthy.

Before your visit, make a plan to address the issue of drug costs.

“Bring an agenda or a list of concerns to your appointment to make sure you talk about anything you’re concerned about, including prescription costs,” says Manera.

Ask your doctor to review your current prescriptions and see if there are ways to save money. Let them know if any of your medications aren’t covered by your insurance plan or if your co-payment is prohibitive.

Ask questions like:

  • Do you know the cost of this drug?
  • Do I need to continue taking the medication I am currently taking?
  • Do I need the new drug you’re prescribing?
  • Is there a cheaper drug that works just as well?
  • Is there a generic version of this drug?
  • Do you have coupons for this drug?
  • Can you prescribe a drug that has a coupon and works just as well?
  • Do you have samples of this drug?
  • Can I get a higher dose of this drug and then cut it in half?
  • Can you prescribe a 90 supply?

By helping you save money, your doctor can help you stay healthy.


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How to talk to your doctor about medication costs
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