As we get older, a lot of things change. While some of these are good changes, like having more free time to commit to the people and activities we love, others can be costly. One of these expensive changes is the cost of medications.
Simply put, seniors are spending more and more on their medications. These are medications they need to live a healthy, normal lifestyle, and for some it can even mean life or death. Yet, spending on prescription drugs is on the rise. Drug costs are anticipated to increase by an annual average of 5.5% until 2027.
How do seniors manage these costs to get the drugs they need without worrying about the rising expenses? In this guide, we’ll explore the ways seniors can manage their own medication costs even as the prices continue to rise.
1. Utilize Medicare
The first way to lower the cost is through Medicare. Medicare is a federal health insurance program for individuals who are 65 and older, and it’s designed to make healthcare more accessible and affordable.
There are 4 parts of Medicare, Part A, B, C, and D. Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage, and what prescriptions are covered and at what price changes on a yearly basis. This allows patients to choose the coverage they need which includes their current drug needs. In addition, an alternative to Medicare Part D is Medicare Advantage. With Medicare Advantage, seniors get their coverage through a private provider.
2. Talk to Your Doctor
Another way to lower the cost of medications is to simply talk to your doctor. There are almost always generic options that can cost, on average, 80 – 85% less than brand name drugs. While this might not always be an option, it is one worth asking your doctor about.
Do generic drugs work as effectively? The FDA actually requires generic drugs to have the same quality and performance as their brand-name counterparts. While there might be subtle changes or different side effects, these are usually a safe, affordable alternative.
3. Switch to a Mail-Order Pharmacy
The rise of technology has introduced a lot of new tools for making healthcare more affordable, even when it comes to prescription drugs. There’s been a recent rise in what’s known as “mail-order” pharmacies, or pharmacies that mail prescriptions directly to your home.
With these mail-order pharmacies, you might have to wait a bit longer for the drugs you need, but you’ll usually get a larger supply. These medications can even be set to renew regularly so you’ll always get your next supply when you need it without having to go to a physical pharmacy. These options are cost-effective and time-effective.
4. Use State Programs
Did you know there are state programs designed to help seniors pay for their medications? It’s true. While it might take some time to investigate, these can be a great resource. Check with your state by searching on the federal marketplace, or contact any local organizations near you that help seniors. These programs usually allow low-income seniors to qualify for funding.
5. Check the Drug Manufacturer
Finally, many drug companies aren’t as money-hungry as they sound. Some companies offer programs designed to help people afford their medications. You can search your drugs on the Medicare website to see if the company has any assistance programs.
You might be able to get coupons or some other discount to make the drug more affordable. It always pays to look into these programs to avoid paying more than you need to.
Are you struggling to pay for high-cost prescriptions? Medications can be expensive, whether you’re purchasing them for yourself or helping a loved one. These steps above make medications more affordable for seniors, the ones who need the most help.
While we officially how more prescription drug treatments available than ever before, these come with high-cost challenges. Take these steps above to work towards a more affordable future for medications.