If you need some help paying for your prescriptions, be sure to review the range of options below.
Need help paying for your prescriptions, or just looking to lower your monthly costs?
There are thousands of programs available from federal and state governments, non-profits, manufacturers, and other organizations to help patients get the drugs they need. Eligibility for these programs is typically based on income, insurance or Medicare status, and other factors, but there are also some simple ways to save that anyone can use to their advantage.
Prescription drugs can be very expensive, especially if you don't have insurance.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can reduce the cost of the drugs your family needs.
Generic vs. Brand
Brand-name drugs are expensive. Generics are generally much cheaper. If you have been prescribed a brand-name drug, ask your doctor if there is a generic available. Generics approved by the FDA have the same dosage, safety, strength, method of use, quality, performance, and intended use as the brand-name drug. On GoodRx, we'll show you if there is a generic equivalent for any brand-name drug you look up.
For many drugs, an increase in dosage does not mean a corresponding increase in price. Many Americans ask their doctors for a higher dosage and then simply split their pills in half (i.e. if you're supposed to take a 20 mg tablet, have your doctor prescribe a 40 mg tablet). Always check with your doctor and pharmacist before splitting your pills though; it's only safe with certain types of tablets.
Mail Order vs. Retail
Mail order pharmacies are often cheaper than retail pharmacies. This is particularly true if you have insurance – your co-pays may be lower if you order a 90 day supply through your insurance company. However, you can also save by paying out of pocket and ordering online from sites like Healthwarehouse.com or your local pharmacy's home delivery service.
Many pharmacies will negotiate on prices . . . if you ask. Some pharmacies have price-matching programs, but not all advertise it.
These coupons can reduce your cost up to 75% from the walk-in cash price. Most US pharmacies accept these coupons.
Many brand-name drug manufacturers offer coupons (sometimes called co-pay cards) to offset the high cost of their drugs. GoodRx lists virtually all of these.
Pharmacy Discount Programs
Many major pharmacies offer a limited list of discounted generic drugs. In addition, some pharmacies offer additional discounts when you join a free or paid membership program.
This website provides information and directories of available assistance programs by location, medication, diagnosis, income, and other factors:
On this site, you can find applications for assistance programs, FAQs, toll-free help lines, and additional resources to help you find ways to afford your medication.
Medicaid coverage eligibility is different from state to state, but most states provide at least some coverage for low-income and disabled people. Starting in 2014, most adults under age 65 with individual incomes up to about $15,000 per year will qualify for Medicaid in every state.
Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
CHIP provides low-cost health coverage to children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicare. There is a CHIP available in every state, though some states have unique names for their programs.
You can get more information on the program in your state by visiting http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/ or calling 1-877-543-7669.
Community Health Centers
Community health centers are hospitals, clinics, and health centers that provide free or low-cost care, typically using a sliding scale based on income. Anyone can use a community health center, whether you have health insurance or not.
Here are a couple of resources for finding a community health center in your area:
Each state also offers a unique selection of assistance programs, in addition to Medicaid, CHIP, and community health centers.
One way to reduce costs if you are un- or underinsured is to obtain care at a facility that participates in the 340B Drug Discount Program. Regardless of your income or employment status, if you pay out-of-pocket for your medical services you can save up to half of the cost of your medications. Our partner, Community Catalyst, has an excellent guide to 340B Programs here.
Many manufacturers also offer patient assistance programs. It is easiest to find these programs through resources like those listed above where you can search by drug name, but they are also often linked on the manufacturer's website or the official site for your medication. Here are a few examples:
Check the brand: If you're taking a generic drug and the price is still too high, search for information about the brand name version. Many assistance programs are for brand name medications only, even if there is a generic alternative available.
Talk to your doctor: Almost all assistance programs require information from your doctor, and some programs are only offered through the doctor's office. They may have other advice on how to cut your prescription costs, or may be able to recommend other, less expensive medications that would be equally effective.
Check the fine print: Most programs have income or eligibility requirements, and most aren't available to insured patients, or those who have Medicare. However, there are some assistance programs specifically designed to help with Medicare costs, or for patients who don't have adequate prescription coverage for a particular drug.
Plan ahead: Benefits can range from a discount to a free month or more, and you'll often need to submit a new application periodically.
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GoodRx is not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the pharmacies identified in its price comparisons. All trademarks, brands, logos and copyright images are property of their respective owners and rights holders and are used solely to represent the products of these rights holders. This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. GoodRx is not offering advice, recommending or endorsing any specific prescription drug, pharmacy or other information on the site. GoodRx provides no warranty for any of the pricing data or other information. Please seek medical advice before starting, changing or terminating any medical treatment.