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5 simple ways to save money on prescriptions

Prescription drugs are too expensive, but we’ve found a few small steps that lead to big savings

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Are you overpaying for your medications? We know how hard it is to make ends meet while dealing with prescription drug prices. We're here to help. 

This is hard to swallow: Americans spend more on prescription drugs than anyone else in the world – an average of $1,300 per year. At WorkMoney we think no one should have to decide between buying groceries or paying for life-sustaining medications, so we've put together a list of five easy ways to save money on your prescriptions. 

1. Know your insurance benefits and plan’s formulary

Let's talk about your insurance benefits and plan's formulary. Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it sounds! Your insurance formulary is just a list of the preferred drugs your insurance covers. Your insurance puts this together so you can get the meds you need at a reasonable price, it also lists generics, which are often cheaper than brand name drugs (like a grocery store brand vs a big brand name). By looking at your plan's formulary, you can see how much your medications will cost and find cheaper alternatives to pricey drugs. 

2. Pay attention to tiers

Lots of medication lists are broken out into different tiers based on your provider's formulary. Most insurance providers have 3-4 drug tiers

  • The first tier is usually the least expensive and mostly has generic drugs. 
  • The second tier has slightly higher-priced generic drugs and lower-priced brand-name drugs. 
  • The third tier has the higher priced brand name drugs.
  • The fourth tier has the most expensive drugs. 

If your drugs fall under Tier 1, they're probably not going to be expensive. But if they're in a higher tier, don't worry! Just make a note of them and ask your pharmacist if there are any generic alternatives that are less expensive.

Brand-name drugs are usually in the higher tiers, but there might be some generic options that are just as good and more affordable.

3. Use a free prescription savings card

Just like groceries, you can get coupons for medications. There are also free prescription savings sites, and we found one we love that can help you save up to 80% on your medications. It’s called SingleCare.  

Just pop in your prescription name and your zip code and you’ll be able to compare medications, find alternative drug options, and see the discounts. Plus, it’s always updated to find the pharmacies that offer the lowest prices on your meds, so you don't have to stress about rising costs. 

Once you've found the best deal, you can print, text, or email your coupon and use it while picking up your prescription. 

4. Get a 90-day supply

If you take your meds for a long time, buying in bulk can be a prescription money saver. Filling your prescriptions for 90 days is more convenient and helps you keep track of your dosage. Plus, insurance providers might offer discounts for buying in bulk to encourage you to stick with your meds. You may need to talk to your doctor to get a 90-day prescription. 

So, next time you're at the pharmacy, ask your pharmacist if there's a difference in cost between a 30-day supply and a 90-day supply. Buying in bulk can help you save some coins, and keep you on track with your meds.

5. Find discounts from the drug manufacturer

Did you know that drug manufacturers often offer discounts that can save you big bucks? If you need a brand-name drug that doesn't have a generic option, head on over to the manufacturer's website to see if they offer any deals or coupons, sometimes called rebates. You might be able to use them with your insurance or as a standalone option if you don't have insurance.