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Beating the High Cost of Prescription Medications

As we all know prescription medications can sometimes be very expensive! One study from 2001 showed that Americans paid over $170 billion on prescription medications! And even for those people who do have health insurance - over 20 million Americans don't - , sometimes prescription drugs are not included in it! And even if they are it typically doesn't pay the full amount, you usually have to at least pay some percent as a co-pay. Something like 20% to have to pay doesn't sound like a lot until you find out the price is $200 a month and 20% comes to $40! If you and your famliy members end up needed 3-4 different prescriptions like that you may find yourself paying over $100 a month for medicines!

And its not like you can go without them either, you can't take a chance with you own or your family's health. Your husband and kids depend upon you - you can't let them down because you don't feel well because you didn't take medication you need.

Sometimes insurance companies have a preferred drug for an condition too - even though other companies may make something that you could take - your insurance company prefers that you take a different companies medication instead. It seems insurance companies don't care that your doctor prescribed a particular medicine for you for a reason - they want you to take what they want - not what your doctor prescribed.

And you don't really have much of a choice either because if you take the one they don't prefer you'll end up paying a much higher price. Instead of $40 you may end up paying $80 for it.

So what can you do?

One option is find ways to save money on your prescriptions.

- Ask your doctor if she or he has samples when they write out a prescription for you - sometimes the samples can last quite a while, saving a lot of money.

- Ask your doctor if there is a generic drug they could prescribe for you instead of a name brand one which would be more expensive.

- In some cases there may be lifestyle changes you can make which would reduce or even possibly eliminate the need for some prescriptions. Ask your doctor about this - if you really need something you should take it, but ask in case.

If you don't have health insurance there are some programs which might be able to help you. One is the 'Connection to Care' program which is sponsored by Pfizer. If you qualify - contact them to see if you do - it is based on income level for an individual or a family and whether or not you have other insurance - you can get many drugs made by Pfizer at a reduced price.

If you are a senior citizen there are drug discount cards available online for Medicare. You may be able to save as much as 15% to 30% this way.

Things you might consider when getting a card are whether or not you can use the pharmacy you want with it, whether it will cover generic drugs, and is there a limit to how much you can get filled at one time with it.

People with really low incomes might also be able to get other Medicare benefits too. In some cases people can get as much as $600 a year to help pay for medications. Some companies even offer assistance programs for people who have used up their $600.

For more information about Medicare, go to their site at www.medicare.gov.






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