Posted on March 15, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Save money on your medications!


The cost of prescription medications can be staggering. It is common to hear that an elderly person might choose to go without his or her necessary prescribed medications in an effort to save a bit of money. Cigna Healthcare reports that people over 65 years of age make up just 13 percent of the population of the United States currently but account for 30 percent of the prescription medications filled at the pharmacy. That’s a lot of money being spent on medications! Here are some suggested ways one might cut some of those costs.


  1. Generic medications – Not all prescriptions have a generic available, but many do. Talk with your physician when he/she is writing out the prescription, making sure they mark the box or notate on the prescription pad that a generic substitute is allowed. There may a significant cost savings to you as it is estimated that one can save approximately $250 per year when you make the switch to the generic equivalent of a drug. If you already have an existing medication and there is a less expensive, generic equivalent available, ASK THE DOCTOR to rewrite the prescription for you, and start saving some money on your prescription costs.


  1. OTC (over-the-counter) options – It’s possible your medication is now available “over the counter”. Ask your pharmacist to see if the dose you need is available in non-prescription form. Some examples of medications that used to be prescription only are Zantac and Claritin. It’s worth checking out as it may just save you some money.


  2. Discounts with major retailers – Some major retailers (think Target / Wal-Mart) offer a host of generic prescriptions for as little as $4 per month and $10 for a three month supply. These are the costs without insurance. Go to the website of the retailer where they publish current lists of the drugs available at lower prices. Good savings abound!


  3. Mail-order rx – Your insurance may offer your prescriptions to be delivered to your doorstep (convenient!) and AT A DISCOUNT! You may be required to purchase a 90 day supply but there is typically a cost savings for doing so. To check out this option, contact your insurance company directly to see if they offer a cost savings for delivery of your medications through the mail.


  4. Evaluate – Talk with your prescribing physician regarding what other things you might do to try to become less dependent on the medication. For example, persons on a prescription for diabetes might be able to change their diet enough to lessen their need for the medication, or a person with high blood pressure might be able to alleviate the need for the prescription by increasing his/her exercise regimen and changing up the diet. The more medication you take, the more potential for side effects and drug interactions, so reducing the drugs you take may help your health in addition to your wallet.


  5. Medicare part D – Spend some time re-evaluating your prescription needs as they relate to what part D covers. Tweak your coverage to ensure you are not paying more than necessary. Check out the Medicare part D website here for more information. This site will assist you in determining what coverage might be best suited for you, as well as offer a plethora of additional information regarding your Medicare and Medicare part D benefit.


Holly Pobst is a Gerontologist and CEO of CRESCENT Geriatric Care Management, Inc. in San Marcos, CA. For more information, please visit



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