Rising Medication Costs

If you’ve been to the pharmacy lately, you know that health concerns aren’t getting any cheaper.

Senior citizens using Medicare have increasingly felt the sting of sharply rising medication costs. The AARP reports drug prices went up 8.4% in 2017, four times the rate of inflation. Nearly three-quarters of Medicare recipients have Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, but not all medications are covered by the plan and some that are covered are still very costly.

Those needing drugs for diabetes, cholesterol issues and asthma inhalers are being hit particularly hard by the exorbitant prices. A single vial of insulin can cost more than $300.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways seniors can potentially get better prices on these medications. Embassy Healthcare offers the following suggestions to save as much money as possible on prescriptions:

  1. Research Medicare plans: Do your homework to see which Medicare plans are available to you. It’s important to know which of your prescribed drugs are covered and how much they cost. You can’t assume that a drug is affordable because it’s covered in the plan.
  2. Check if generics or alternatives are available: Doctors may not mention generic choices every time, so be sure to ask if they are an option. Alternatively, other drugs may treat the same condition, so ask if there are other medication possibilities. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is helping the situation this year by allowing insurance companies to include generics as approved drugs. CMS is also decreasing the maximum amount that those in low-income brackets must pay.
  3. Ask for assistance: Pharmaceutical companies sometimes offer financial aid for certain drugs they make. Check here to search for assistance by the name of the drug.
  4. Get Extra Help: There is a Social Security program called Extra Help that can provide nearly $5,000 in assistance to those who qualify. Recipients must be on Medicare and have limited income and resources.
  5. Seek out coupons: There are coupon and discount card websites that can help you save on your medications. It may also be helpful to ask your pharmacist if they have any savings recommendations for your prescriptions.