Offset Increased Drug Costs by Shopping Smart  

Drug costs are rising – recently the cost of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans increased by 8 percent – but controlling the cost of medications can help offset these premium increases.

The first step is to talk frankly with your doctor, who may not know your financial situation. Explore your drug cost options, including a switch to a generic drug.

If you’re on specialty drugs, your doctor may have coupons for them. Also, many manufacturers of high-cost drugs offer a co-pay waiver plan. Ask your doctor, who also may be able to contact the manufacturer directly on your behalf.

Your health insurer may offer or require use of their partner mail-order pharmacy. When you’ve ensured the medication works, order a 90-day supply to save money.

If you shop at a drugstore, the cost can vary: shop smart with online help and don’t be shy about asking for cash discounts at your local pharmacy.

Many stores offer a reduced price through a membership card, and the Consumer Reports website has an online tool to compare drug costs. Individuals on Medicare with extremely low incomes may qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help program, which reduces their drug spend.

One of the best ways to cut drug costs on Medicare is to shop your prescription drug plan during open enrollment. Plan to consult your insurance agent before the busy open enrollment season next October. Your agent can help you compare your drug costs by plan so you can make the best choice for the medications you’ve been prescribed.