Partner with Your Doctor to Reduce Prescription Costs

The cost of medical care keeps rising, including prescription costs. To lower the cost of prescriptions, many patients turn to generic medications. However, many doctors don’t offer generics as a first choice.

When you visit your doctor, always speak frankly about your finances, especially if you are on Medicare and approaching the dreaded coverage gap, or “donut hole.” In 2018, this gap begins when you spend $3,750 and ends when you spend $5,000 on prescription drugs. While Part D Medicare enrollees will receive a discount on drugs purchased in that gap, they’re still spending a lot of money for medications between TrOOP (true out-of-pocket) and copay expenses.

To save money, always ask your doctor if generic options are available. Doctors may hesitate to recommend some generic drugs because they believe the generic is not as effective. If that’s the case, ask your doctor if there is a comparable generic medication that might be as effective.

If you’re taking medications for chronic diseases and your insurer’s pharmacy has a mail-order prescription service, ask your doctor to write a 90-day prescription with appropriate refills. Your doctor can electronically transmit your prescription, and you can order online or by phone when you need refills. Most mail-order pharmacies have an automatic refill option, so you’ll never run out of important medications.

If you can split a medication, ask your doctor to write the prescription in a higher dosage, and then buy a pill splitter to cut the dose in half.

Never skip medications such as cholesterol-lowering drugs to save money. Failing to take medications for chronic conditions can be devastating, possibly leading to stroke, heart attack, or, in the case of transplant recipients, organ rejection.

Finally, always price-shop your drugs. You can easily compare prices online with programs such as or Additionally, GoodRx.comoffers prescription coupons, which can help you save on essential medications.