Prescription drugs cost a lot of money for seniors. People over the age of 65, on average, take 14–18 prescription medications per year.
Unfortunately, the cost of prescription drugs has steadily risen over the years, putting significant financial strain on seniors.
In fact, over a five-year period, the prices of the 20 most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs for seniors rose nearly ten times faster than the annual rate of inflation.
If your elderly relative is spending a lot of money on medication, seeing if there are any ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs could mean thousands of dollars in savings.
We've compiled a list of 7 prescription drug savings tips for seniors to help make their medication more affordable.
7 prescription drug cost-cutting strategies for seniors
1. Use generics instead.
Generic drugs are typically 85 percent less expensive than brand-name drugs.
Inquire with your elderly loved one's doctor if there are any generic medications that could safely replace their brand-name medications.
The FDA requires generic drugs to be of the same quality and performance as brand-name drugs, but there may be subtle differences that affect your senior's health.
That is why it is critical to consult with your doctor before making any changes.
2. Look for lower-cost brand-name medications.
A wide range of drugs can be used to treat the majority of medical conditions.
Some of these drugs may work in similar ways, but they are much less expensive.
Inquire with your elderly loved one's doctor if there are any less expensive brand-name medications that could treat their condition just as well as the current medication.
3. Use a mail-order pharmacy.
Many health insurance companies and pharmacy companies encourage you to use their mail-order pharmacy.
You'll save money on most medications and receive a three-month supply.
That means fewer trips to the pharmacy, which saves time!
4. Look for a better Medicare drug plan.
If your elderly relative has high prescription medication costs, a different Medicare drug plan may be able to reduce those costs.
Use the Medicare Plan Finder to compare different plans, or visit your local State Health Insurance and Assistance Programs (SHIP) office to speak with a free expert counselor.
5. Seek assistance from state programs.
Some states have programs that help people pay for prescription medications.
It's worth your time to look into whether your elderly relative's drug costs are high in comparison to their income – they may be eligible.
Find out if your state provides additional assistance with prescription costs.
6. Seek assistance from the drug manufacturer.
Some pharmaceutical companies provide programs to assist people in paying for their medications.
Use this simple tool to look up your medications and see if there are any assistance programs available.
However, the value of drug manufacturer coupons is changing now that insurance companies have implemented copay accumulators. Examine your senior's prescription drug plan to see how using these types of coupons will affect their deductible and out-of-pocket costs.
7. Fill out an application for the Extra Help program.
Social Security has a program called Extra Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Costs for low-income seniors.
It contributes to the cost of a Medicare prescription drug plan.
Find out if you or your your elderly relative is eligible and how to apply.