A great way to off set the cost of prescription medications is to take advantage of "special offers". Many stores/pharmacies issue coupons offering incentives to transfer your prescriptions to them or to bring them a "New Prescription".
These show up occasionally in sales ads, usually in your Sunday paper, sometimes in an email, sometimes frm the "Magic Coupon" machine at CVS and sometimes in your postal mail. You've probably seen these before and not noticed.
Here are some common recent examples:
- $10 Target
- $10 Meijer
- $25 CVS
- $25 Walmart
- $20 Rite Aid
- $20 Kroger
- 20% off your bill at Jewel
- $30 Dominicks
Here are some pointers:
- If transferring a prescription bring the whole bottle with you (empty) if it is a new Pharmacy for you bring along your insurance card as they may need it to run it through insurance.
- When transferring a prescription expect it to take a little longer then usual as they will have to work with the pharmacy you are transferring from, and if it is a busy time you might need to come back.
- Make sure they are aware you have a coupon before hand, this way you have a heads up if there is a problem with using a coupon. For example some coupons might state "Not good if used on $4 Generic Drugs"...you'll want to make sure your medication is not on this list. You can ahead to ask or check their web site.
- ALWAYS have a list of all prescription medication you are on, especially if you are filling a prescription for medication you've never taken before. You'll want to check if there are any interactions. DO NOT expect your doctor to know the interactions between medications, the pharmacists are much more well versed on this.
- If you are on Medicare or Medicaid chances are you won't qualify to use these coupons.
- If you transfer a prescription "away" from Walgreens they will sometimes send you a coupon for $25 to transfer one back...it does not have to be the same one. Here's the thing though they want you to spend the $25 in one shopping trip. What I do is use the $25 gift check they give me to buy a $25 Walgreens Gift Card so I don't have to spend it at once.
If you are on a Mail Order plan through your insurance company keep yourself well versed on the rules of how your plan works. I have a mail order prescription plan and was quite confused on how to get this to work for me. I finally called them and had them really talk me through how this works (every plan is different).
I will often call them before tranfsering just to double check what my out of pocket will be. For my plan and most plans it is cheaper to get the (3) Month supply for maintenance medications, you pay less in co-pays. However, if I fill that prescription once a month and transfer the prescription to whoever is offering a good coupon the value of the Gift Certificates were often much greater then the extra I was paying in co-pays.
This is a learning process, take it one step at a time and always do your homework first if you are on the mail order plan to make sure you are ending up "ahead of the game".