Personal Cost-Saving Tips for Managing Your Prescription Drug Plan

Originally published 1/8/21 - Updated 1/4/23

When it comes to healthcare, you have a wide variety of options. Although each of these choices may seem small, they can impact you in many ways. In fact, some unwise choices may even undermine your plan and lead to long-term negative consequences. For this reason, it is important to be a smart consumer. 

As the beneficiary of an employer-sponsored prescription drug plan, it is tempting to focus only on your copays when buying prescription drugs. However, the amount of your copay is not the same as the cost of the drug. For example, when your copay for a given medication is $10, that does not mean the total cost of the drug was $10. The remainder of the cost will be covered by your prescription drug plan. 

When you choose to purchase medications at higher price points, your immediate out-of-pocket copay will stay the same. However, your insurance provider will be forced to pay more, which means you might see higher premiums in the future. 

Keeping Costs Low

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Information is power. Be a smart consumer by learning different ways to reduce your overall drug costs. Not only will you save yourself and your healthcare plan money, but you will ultimately save your employer money as well if your healthcare comes through your job. Below are some tips to help you get the most out of your prescription drug coverage:

1. Use Cost Comparison Tools

Various prescription cost comparison tools are available to tell you the price of specific medications at different locations in your zip code. For example, with an app like GoodRx, you can find the retailer in your area that sells each of your medications at the lowest price.

If you are on a fixed income, it’s worth knowing what you are paying. Even if your copay will be the same regardless of where you shop, finding the retailer that charges the least is still recommended to keep your premiums low in the future. 

2. Use a Mail Order Service

Lots of prescription drug plans now offer mail orders for larger quantities of medications at reduced prices. This makes it easy to manage refills from your phone or computer. However, keep in mind that this is not the best option for drugs that need to be started immediately, such as antibiotics. There is obviously a time delay in mail orders, so be sure to stay on top of your prescriptions and reorder before your current dose runs out.

3. Take Your Medication as Prescribed

Some people don't maintain the prescription medication regimen recommended by their doctors. They may decide to skip doses for a variety of reasons, from trying to cut costs to simply forgetting to take the pills every day. However, it is always important to take your medications as your doctor recommends, especially with maintenance medications. Failing to take these medications as recommended can lead to additional health problems that could have been avoided. In many cases, these other health problems will be even more costly than the original maintenance medication would have been if it had been taken properly. 

4. Communicate with All of Your Doctors about All of Your Prescriptions

If you are going to more than one doctor to receive prescriptions, it is important to be honest about which medications you are taking. When a doctor does not have all of the information, they may prescribe something that interacts with one of your existing drugs and leads to harm. To ensure that every doctor you see has a comprehensive list of your medications, consider bringing a printed list with you to your appointments. 

The ultimate goal of the prescription drug plan in your healthcare package is to give you access to the drugs you need. With drug costs increasing, it’s important to know how you, as a consumer, can manage your decision-making and help keep costs low for everyone. By following the tips above, you can save money for yourself and your employer, while also keeping your future insurance premiums as low as possible. 


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