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How to Lower the Medications Cost


A good place to start and advance in the right direction is to start making

the first step by making some changes in your lifestyle that might help

reduce your need for medications. Many chronic illnesses, including obesity,

low back pain, high blood pressure,heart diseases and diabetes, require

fewer medications if you can increase your activity level, lose weight, and

improve your diet. For sample, some people who have type 2 diabetes,

simple measures such as eating a balanced diet that spreads carbohydrate

throughout the day and exercising regularly can help keep elder lady with a refresshing smoothieyour blood sugar

level within a safe range without

insulin or other medications.

Likewise, following a particular

eating plan and lowering your

salt, fat and cholesterol intake

has been proven to lower blood

pressure, overweight and

heart diseases.


“ Smoothies made with the seasonal fruits are a save in my grocerie bill, helping me to keep my sugar under control and a delicious way to say “salud” during a hot day”

How can I save money on prescriptions?


• Always ask for a Senior discount

Try Generics- Generic medications are less expensive copies of brand-name medications. Ask your doctor if you can take a generic equivalent for the brand-name medication that you take now. Generic equivalents are made according to the same strict U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards as brand-name drugs and therefore have the same quality, strength, purity, and stability as their more expensive counterparts.

Unfortunately, generic equivalents are not available forevery brand-name medication. If there is not an equivalent, ask your doctor if there is a similar medication in the same class that may be less expensive or that has a generic equivalent.

• Shop around- Always shop around for the best deal on medications. The retail cost of medications can vary widely from pharmacy to pharmacy. While finding a good deal is important, it's also important that your pharmacist (or pharmacists) knows your medical history, including all the drugs—both prescription and nonprescription, as well as dietary supplements and herbs—you take, even if they are not dispensed at that particular pharmacy. That way he or she can provide valuable advice about any potential for drug interactions, side effects, or other problems.
The U.S. Medicare Web site,, has a useful tool for comparing prices of hundreds of prescription drugs and generic equivalents at pharmacies near you and also available by mail order. You can access this information by answering "Yes" to the question "Do you have Medicare?" and entering your Zip code. The Web site requires that you answer several screens of questions and have some familiarity with computers. People who have difficulty can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to receive lists of prices for the drugs they use.

• Split- Pill splitting is another strategy that can help you save money without losing drug effectiveness or safety. Some tablets are available at double the dose and at the same or almost the same cost as lower doses. By splitting the larger dose, you can essentially get two doses for the price of one. However, many medications are not suitable for pill splitting, including timed-release pills and capsules.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of your prescription medications are sold at higher dosages and if it's possible to split them. Talk to your pharmacist about how to split pills with an inexpensive, easy-to-use pill splitter.

• Get extra- Buying prescriptions in bulk can also save you money. For a new prescription, don't buy a whole bottle but ask for just a few pills. You may have side effects from the medication and have to switch. If you buy just a few, you won't be stuck with a costly bottle of medicine you can't take. Often, drug companies give doctors medication samples free of charge. You might ask your doctor if he or she has medication samples, especially when you are trying out a new medication to see whether it will work.
For ongoing conditions, buy medications in the largest quantities.Before you leave the doctor office, ask your doctor to write a prescription for several months' supply of medications that you take consistently.

• Are prescription medications always necessary?

There may be an over-the-counter alternative for your prescription medication. For example, nonprescription Aleve is a fraction of the cost of the prescription equivalent Naprosyn. (Generic versions of over-the-counter medications can save you even more money.) Buy store-brand or discount brand over-the-counter products. Ask the pharmacist for recommendations.Often nonprescription equivalents of prescription medications come in lower strengths, so get instructions from your doctor and the pharmacist on how to take them.

• How can my doctor help?
To enlist your doctor's help, tell him or her that your prescription medication bill is a financial burden. Ask for drugs that are less expensive but just as effective. Often, several medications can be used to treat the same condition, and your doctor may be able to prescribe the one that is the most economical, and remember to ask your doctor if he or she has medication samples and for what pharmacy he recommends or he if he knows where you could apply for financial assistance or drug discount programs.

• How can my insurance plan help save me money?

Take time to find out about how your medical insurance or managed health care plan covers medication costs. Some insurance companies cover only generic medications if they are available. With some insurance plans, you may have to pay more for medications that are not on the plan's list of preferred medications. Some insurers cover medications that are bought only at participating pharmacies. Your insurance company also may not pay for certain medications such as weight-loss and hair-growth drugs. Ask the customer service representative whether your medications are covered, whether you need to buy at participating pharmacies, and about your copayment. Many insurance companies also list this information on their Web sites.

If you have a choice between plans, check what your copayment for prescription drugs will be, the maximum amount the plan will pay in a year, and other particulars. Choose the plan that best suits your needs. When buying medications, find out which payment option will be the least expensive. Some factors to consider include whether there is a generic version of a preferred medication, and whether an over-the-counter equivalent is cheaper than your copayment. Remember, having the right information can save you time and money.

• What about the Medicare drug program?

From January 2006, the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit began. For the most current information about what the Medicare Part D Act means for you, go to or call 1-800-MEDICARE. Your doctor, pharmacist, social worker or someone from your closer SOCIAL SECURITY Administration office, may also be able to help you understand your Medicare benefits.

• What other resources are available?

Some organizations offer special discounts on prescription drugs for their members. For example, members of AARP save 17% on brand drugs and at least 50% on generic drugs. Also, many pharmacies offer some form of a discount plan for seniors.

See whether the pharmaceutical company that makes your medication has a patient assistance program. Many pharmaceutical companies offer free or discounted drugs for people who cannot afford them. These companies often require that your doctor contact them first about your case. In any case, your doctor will need to be involved, and the application process can be complex. You may need to provide documentation to verify your income. The nonprofit organization RxAssist provides doctors and other health care providers with the information they need to access these programs. You can find out more at This Web site also lists state programs for seniors and disabled and low-income people.

If you have a rare disease, you may be eligible for the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) medication assistance program. This program helps people with rare diseases whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to pay for their prescribed medications. For more information, visit

Most veterans know that the Veterans Administration offers prescription drug coverage for retired veterans. But many people don't know that the same service is available for their families and survivors. Call the VA Health Benefits Service Center toll-free at 1-877-222-VETS (8387), or go to



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