Nearly all of us require prescription medication at some point, and some of us take prescription medications every day. Either way, prescription medications can burn a hole in your wallet. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to bring down the cost of these medications overall or simply lower what you pay out of pocket. Here are a few tips to save money on prescription medicine.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, or PBS, provides a subsidy for many common medications. Prices are set at two different levels. There’s one price for pensioners, seniors and veterans, and then there’s the price everyone else pays.
You could pay a fraction of the price if can prove you’re eligible for one of the concessions. On top of this, there is a safety net that applies. If you are a concessional patient, PBS medicines are free once you spend around $400 on medications. For general patients, the limit is around $1500, at which point you’ll be charged a much lower concession rate. If you buy a lot of medication, ask for your prescription record form to track your spending, and ensure that you get cheaper or free medication once you hit that threshold.
If you’re being hit with fees, ask your doctor about ways to reduce them. This is especially true if you can ask to switch to a cheaper, generic version of the drug instead of the brand name. And remember that newer isn’t always better. One study found that only ten percent of new medications had an advantage over existing ones.
Another option is to shop around to find a cheaper pharmacy. This could include online pharmacies. However, you must be careful with these because some sell counterfeit medicine or medication past its use-by date. This is why you should only use an accredited, online pharmacy like Pharmacy Online, who are registered with the New South Wales Pharmacy Council. Their medications are the same as you pick up at a regular pharmacy only for a fraction of the price.
If your medication isn’t covered by the PBS, you can ask for a private prescription. This means you’ll have to pay the full price, so it really pays to shop for a cheaper pharmacy. These prescription costs don’t contribute to the safety net threshold, but you might be able to get a rebate from your private health insurer.
If you have diabetes and high blood pressure, for example, you may take one or more medications to manage each health condition. However, you may be able to save money by switching to a combined medication. This is always more convenient since you’re taking fewer pills. It can also save you money, since you’re only paying one co-payment. Another thing you could do is buy in bulk. Some pharmacy chains let you buy in bulk, allowing them to discount the medications so that it costs less than the average co-payment. With cuts in prescription subsidies, patients are facing a heftier bill for their medications. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to save money without sacrificing your health.