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Reducing Medication Costs

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How can you save money on prescriptions? continued...

If you decide to buy your medicine on the Internet, be a smart shopper and learn how to buy drugs safely online.

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. But many medicines should not be split, including timed-release pills and capsules.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of your prescription medicines 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 camera.gif.

Buying prescriptions in bulk can also save you money. Ask your doctor to write a prescription for several months' supply of medicines that you take consistently. Keep in mind that your insurance company may limit the amount of medicine you can get at one time. Sometimes the cash price for a 3-month supply of medicine is less costly than if you were to pay an insurance copay each month for three months. Mail-order services can often save you money on large orders. But be sure to use only trusted, reliable pharmacy websites.

If you are trying a medicine for the first time, don't get more than a 30-day supply. That way, if you have concerns about side effects, you can talk to your doctor about trying another medicine. And you may save money by not getting more than you needed.

For more ideas about how to pay for medicines, how to remember to take them, and when to call your doctor, see Quick Tips: Taking Medicines Wisely.

How can your insurance plan help you save money?

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

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 13, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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