Showing posts with label spending on prescription drugs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spending on prescription drugs. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Taking Steps to Reduce Prescription Costs

According to the CDC, nearly 20 percent of the $263 billion spent yearly on retail prescription drugs in the the U.S. was paid out of pocket. And according to the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), per-person spending on prescription drugs is now over $700 per year. And for those in the 55-64 age bracket, it's even higher, at more than $1,700 per year.

HCCI’s latest stats also show that health care spending grew nearly three and a half percent in 2014 alone, with most of that increase going to brand name drugs – a $45 jump in per-person spending! The cost of prescriptions went up - even though we used nearly 16% fewer brand prescriptions than in 2013. Women are feeling the pinch the hardest; out-of-pocket spending on prescriptions by women has been higher than spending by men every year since 2010.

With prescription spending high and statistics showing a steady rate of increase over the past five years, it’s time to take constructive steps to manage your prescription costs.

Take steps to reduce your prescription costs


Data from the National Health Interview Survey showed that, to save money, almost 8 percent of U.S. adults did not take their medication as prescribed, which can be dangerous. Specifically:
  • Adults under 64 were nearly twice as likely as adults older than 65 to have not taken their medication as prescribed to save money
  • Among adults under age 64, uninsured adults were more likely than those with Medicaid or private coverage to have not taken their medication as prescribed to save money
  • The poorest adults were the most likely to not take medication as prescribed to reduce prescription spending
  • Some adults ameliorate their prescription costs by reducing the dosage and frequency recommended
Rather than taking a potentially serious risk to manage your costs, consider the following smarter strategies to safely reduce your spending:
  • Ask your doctor if a less expensive but equally effective medication is available. For example, there are time-released brand name drugs prescribed to treat ADHD that can cost 10 to 20 times more per month than the non-time-released version of Ritalin
  • Buy generic versions of drugs whenever your doctor/pharmacist agrees to this cost-saving alternative to name brand drugs
  • Use the free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card or FamilyWize smartphone app, available in the Apple App StoreGoogle Play, or the Windows Store - this can save you as much as 75% off the cost of your prescriptions, and guarantees you'll get the lowest price
  • See if you may qualify for free preventive care services under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - the right preventive care can sometimes keep you from needing a prescription at all
  • If you are on Medicare, use the Medicare National Mail-Order Program, which not only saves on ongoing prescription costs, but on gas money as well
  • If you receive insurance through your work, check to see if your employer has a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) benefit, which can save you as much as 30% yearly on out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Check your mail’s weekly ad flyers and coupon books, which may have neighborhood drug store discounts on prescription drugs
  • Join your pharmacy’s loyalty program if they have one
  • Use the FamilyWize Drug Price Lookup Tool, which can help you compare prices at different pharmacies in your area
For more cost savings strategies, download our free Live Healthy, Live Smart® eGuide, written by an expert pharmacist with over 30 years of experience.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer