$5 a pill.

2 01 2010

no, it’s not the street value of the valium you found in your mother’s drawer (that’s more like $2-$3 )- it’s how much i used to spend on my acid reflux medication when i didn’t have insurance. don’t get me started on what’s wrong with the current health insurance situation in america… i have experienced it firsthand! the 2 years i spent without it were some of the most horribly stressful of my life- and no small contributing factor to my current huge personal debt.  as it so happens, my parents are genetic minefields, and i’ve wound up with a host of non-life threatening but totally irritating chronic conditions that require daily medication:

1. debilitating allergies & chronic hives

2. acid reflux

3. athsma

4. ok, this one doesn’t have anything to do with my parents- but i am also on the pill. (genetic predisposition to not want to get knocked up?)

so when i stumbled across this article about low cost health care, i thought maybe it would have some helpful tips that i could share with other people who might be in the same position i was  a few years ago. maybe there were some resources that i hadn’t found on my own… OR NOT. this was the lamest article i’ve ever read. thanks for the tip on sending CDC e-cards… or getting free ice cream… what the fuck? somebody needs to jaunt over to the l.a. times and give francesca lunzer kritz a good smack in the mouth. i seriously can’t believe somebody actually paid her for that garbage.

but on to some things that are actually helpful! the l.a. times might not know shit, but i figured out a few things when i was slumming it (medically speaking) that might come in handy to some.

6 things you can do to lower your prescription drug costs:

1. go OTC. i once paid $152 for a medication that had already gone over the counter under a different name- and my doctor never even bothered to tell me. it is always worth checking with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of your meds have gone over the counter. now, instead of $152 a month (or even $30 when i had prescription coverage), i pay $10 or less at the rite aid or cvs (depending on who has the better deal, and what coupons i can scrounge)- and with programs like rite aid zyrtec rewards, i often end up getting cash back.

2. go generic. if you can’t get it over the counter, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a comparable generic drug. most of the time, doctor’s aren’t thinking about the lowest cost option- and generally prescribe the name brand medication (which is always more expensive). there also might be a different similar drug that is a lower price.

3. beg for samples. in my most dire of financial straits, my doctor would always hook me up with (literally) bags of free samples when i explained to him my situation. medical offices get tons of them free from drug companies in an effort to get the doctors to pimp their products. a kindhearted physician will often use them to help a girl out.

4. hit the big box. both walmart and target pharmacies have big lists of prescription drugs that you can get starting at $4 a month, or $10 for 90 days. it doesn’t cover everything- but they both have a solid range, and the prices can’t be beat.

5. pay a visit to the planned parenthood. if you want birth control and you have no money, a visit to the planned parenthood is always in order. their services are generally on a sliding income scale. also, don’t forget to grab a handful of free condoms on your way out the door (university health centers are also usually good for such things).

6. check out the hospital outpatient clinic. because my doctor’s office is part of the MMC family, my doctor was able to write me a prescription for my meds (everything but the birth control) that i could pick up at the outpatient pharmacy at the hospital. they had a pretty wide selection, and i never paid more than $15 a month for anything.

really, the real moral of this story is always to TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. they want to help you, but they don’t necessarily know about your financial situation unless you tell them. chances are, they have more than a few resources in their lab coat pockets that can help you out. also, don’t forget to cash in on those $25 gift cards that cvs & rite aid are always offering to bring in your new or transferred prescription.

you may have also heard about saving money by getting drugs from canada, or signing up for prescription discount cards– but when i looked into both programs, i wasn’t able to find any significant savings (only lots of hassle and additional monthly fees!). not worth it!

these 6 are the best ways that i’ve found, but i’d love to broaden the list if anyone out there knows any tricks that i missed!

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15 03 2010
the glory of medical inconveniences. « broke 207

[…] glory of medical inconveniences. 15 03 2010 as i have mentioned before, i have been blessed with a cornucopia of excessively irritating, but non life-threatening […]

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