Keeping Prescription Drug Costs Low in Retirement
Financial advisors have the inside scoop on retiree issues. We know the hot topics because we see them every day. One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen clients face in retirement is prescription drug costs. So I thought I’d do a little research, ask some of my clients what they were doing, and share it with the rest of you.
The first thing I learned is that pharmacies charge different prices to fill prescriptions. So it’s a good idea to check around for prices as Rick pointed out to me:
Periodically price check your drugs at multiple pharmacies. The price can vary tremendously. There was a short period recently when I did not have drug coverage. I ordered a refill at CVS of a generic drug I thought would be inexpensive. Cost was $109.00 for a 30 day supply. I checked Target and same drug was $50.00. I ordered drug at Target and just as a check, called local Holland drug store Skips. They had the exact same drug for $19.00. When I told Target, they said they would price match the $19.00 and called Skips for verification. I moved all my prescriptions to Skips. Most people with small deductible prescription costs do not really know or care about actual drug cost. If you are on Medicare and copays are big, it pays to check around.
If the thought of calling all your pharmacies to check prices on every single prescription makes your head swim, don’t worry, there’s an app for that. Goodrx.com was by far the most popular website that has an app for finding and comparing costs of different pharmacies in your area. Check it out. It could save you like it did Rob:
I’m amazed at how little our prescription drug insurance was doing for us. We are just using GoodRx and Walmart now… in most cases we are getting better prices than we did with full prescription insurance. The base high volume generic drugs are only $4.
Besides shopping around, asking for generic versions in larger quantities can save you as well. That’s the advice of Kate:
Ask questions to your doctor and the nurse and the pharmacist about less costly drugs, get pills annually, get larger pills and split them. Also ask about non drug alternatives…
But as you get your prescriptions filled using lower cost alternatives, you still need to be cautious, as Barb, a client of mine who works in the pharmacy explained:
Consumer needs to be aware of all RX’s they are on, and relay this info to the pharmacist, as retail computer programs usually don’t communicate with each other which can lead to dangerous drug interactions or worse.
So if you want to keep the costs down on your prescriptions, in summary:
- Go generic
- Ask for larger quantities, even up to 1yr, if possible
- Shop prices using an online services or apps
Of course, the best thing to do is stay healthy so you don’t have to take anything. But that’s easier said than done.