As we age, so does our likelihood of needing prescription drugs. The older we get, the greater the chance we’ll need more than one or two.
According to the latest update (July 2021) from Merck Manual, “almost 90% of older adults regularly take at least 1 prescription drug, almost 80% regularly take at least 2 prescription drugs, and 36% regularly take at least 5 different prescription drugs.
These medications come at a price:
“Annual average out-of-pocket prescription drug expenditures for all adults are $177, but people age 65 and older pay much more for their medications. People age 65 to 79 pay $456 out-of-pocket. People age 80 and older pay even more.
Adults pay almost half — 48 percent — of their expenses for prescription drugs out-of-pocket, but persons aged 65 to 79 pay 56 percent and those aged 80 and older pay 67 percent of their total drug expenditures out-of-pocket.” (The Health Policy Institute)
Those costs add up quickly when you are taking multiple medications every day.
With costs for prescription drugs having increased in price by 2.5% since the start of the pandemic, there isn’t an expectation we’ll see cheaper prices any time soon.
So what can you do to save money on your prescription drugs?
Medicare Part D
The best place to start is with a good prescription drug plan. A prescription drug plan may help you save money on existing prescriptions or on medication needs in the future.
Medicare drug coverage (Part D) helps you pay for both brand-name and generic drugs. These plans are offered by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare. These plans vary in where they are available and what they cover (and what level).
The first step to decreasing your prescription drug costs is working with a broker to find the best plan for your specific needs.
Beyond the prescription drug plan: GoodRX
When you’re on an insurance company’s prescription drug plan, they can charge whatever they want. Though most do stay competitive, prescription drug prices are not regulated. That means prices can, and do, vary. Sometimes the plan price will be the lowest. Other times a cash price will be. While the prescription needs to be filled as it was written, you have the option as to where it will be filled.
This means, if you can find a lower cash or non-insurance plan price at another pharmacy, you are more than welcome to get your prescription filled there.
For example, your insurance plan might have a $45 co-pay for your prescription but a local pharmacy might be selling the same medication for the cash price of just $10.
So how do you find these lower prices – or know if your plan price is the best one? By using GoodRX!
GoodRX is NOT an insurance plan. It’s a discount and coupon service – and there is no cost for it! It is 100% free with no registration required.
GoodRx gathers current prices and discounts to help you find the lowest cost pharmacy for your prescriptions – either using their discount card or through coupons you’d use like any other one.
image credit: GoodRX.com
How to use GoodRX
Simply head to the GoodRX website or use the mobile app and enter your medication and dosage. You’ll be provided with a list of local pharmacies and their price for your medication. You can then choose where to have your prescription filled and how to pay for it – cash (using the card or a coupon) or submit it to your insurance company.
I have clients who take 8 to 10 medications per month and it is not uncommon to see 2 or 3 of them cheaper through GoodRX regardless of what prescription drug plan they have.
GoodRX is a great way to keep your insurance plan in check and your out of pocket expenses low.
Something to keep in mind, is that if you choose to pay cash, what you spend will not count toward any plan deductible.
How can I help you?
I see Medicare advantage RX coverage and Standalone RX plans becoming very competitive, but all companies are not the same for sure! Finding the right plan for your needs is just the start of how I help my clients. The other service I provide – helping clients monitor their medications to ensure they pay the lowest price possible.
If you’re in Thurston County, WA, reach out to me to find out which drug prescription plan is right for you. If you have questions about your particular medications, give us a call and we can check on pricing for you.