BY National Council on Aging
Managing medications can be difficult when the cost of your drugs is high.
If you’re having trouble paying for your prescriptions, here are four ways you might be able to save money.
1. Talk to your doctor Р and your plan.
When you’re prescribed a new medication, check to see whether it’s on your plan’s formulary (approved drug list) and how much your copayment is. If your drug plan doesn’t cover your prescription, or if your copayments are very high, ask your doctor for help.
Physicians will know whether there are comparable, less expensive drugs (e.g., generics) available. Some may even be able to provide free samples of medications while you seek other coverage options. Doctors also can request an exception to ask your plan to cover the medication, or to let you pay at a lower tier.
2. See if you qualify for Extra Help.
The Medicare Part D program has a subsidy called Extra Help that assists people with limited income and resources with paying for their drugs. If you get Extra Help, you’ll save money on your drug plan premium, deductible, and at the pharmacy Р with prescriptions costing between $1.15 and $6.60.
3. Find help from drug manufacturers.
Patient Assistance Programs, or PAPs, are programs offered by drug companies to help people pay for their drugs. Through these programs, many drug manufacturers offer their drugs for free, or at a discount. Some PAPs are for people who don’t have insurance, while a few help people with Medicare Part D who don’t qualify for Extra Help.
4. Don’t forget Open Enrollment!
Every year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, people with Medicare can switch their prescription drug plans for the following year. If you’re having trouble with your drug costs, it’s a good idea to compare plans to see if there’s a more affordable option.
You can go online at any time to compare plans using the Medicare Plan Finder, or you can get personalized help from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Every state has a SHIP that offers free, objective, and personalized information to people with Medicare.
You also can ask your SHIP whether you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to switch plans.
For more information on any of these tips, contact Davis County Senior Services at 801-525-5050.