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  • Tom Cianflone

Saving Money on Prescription Drugs



Prescription drug costs can be a challenge on Medicare, especially if you are coming off of employer group health and you require any kind of specialty, name brand drugs. It's not uncommon to discover that a drug that cost you maybe $30 or $40 on an employer group health plan now costs hundreds of dollars under your Medicare plan. As your agent, I will always shop plans that will minimize your drug costs under Medicare. Beyond that, there are still things you can do to reduce your drugs costs under Medicare even further.


First, always find out how much a new prescription will cost under your Medicare coverage. By the time the drug is ready for pickup at your pharmacy, you will know exactly what your cost will be. Typically, tier 1 and tier 2 drugs will either be free or extremely low cost. Drugs on tiers 3, 4 and 5 can pose cost challenges. If the cost under your Medicare coverage is acceptable to you, buy the prescription through your plan. If the cost is unacceptably high, look at alternatives. I'm a big fan of goodrx.com, though there are other similar online services that have become available as well. If you’re a smartphone user, install the goodrx.com app on your phone. No smartphone? You can use goodrx.com from a computer or tablet and print the coupon to your printer. Or, you can have a family member or friend print the coupon for you. However you get the coupon, if it's a better price than your plan offers, use the goodrx.com coupon to buy the prescription. Simply tell the pharmacist at checkout that you want to buy the drug using an online coupon and not through your plan. They'll know what to do from there.


Did you know that the local supermarket chain Publix offers some commonly prescribed drugs, including some antibiotics, completely free of charge? And they also have a considerable list of drugs that they provide for just $7.50 for a 90-day supply. Talk to your Publix pharmacy for details.


If online coupons don't get your prescription down to an affordable price, you may need to look at patient assistance programs from the drug manufacturers. The website needymeds.org is your one-stop shop for patient assistance programs. Simply type the drug name in the search box and you will see the various types of assistance that may be available to get your prescription down to a reasonable amount for you. If the website is not convenient for you, you can call them for assistance over the phone at 800-503-6897. As always, if I can be of assistance with any of this, I'm just a phone call away.

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