4 Ways to Save Money on Prescriptions, Deductibles, and Out-of-Pocket Expenses

4 Ways to Save Money on Prescriptions, Deductibles, and Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Living & Loving with Prostate Cancer

Most of us find out the hard way that many insurance companies have deductibles for prescription medication. After you’ve spent hundreds of dollars meeting your deductible, you could be in for a very unpleasant surprise when you find out insurance companies can either deny coverage or leave you with high copays.

Treating ED with medication or penile injections often leave us with ridiculously high copays. AARP has an informative article about this topic.

I was one of those naive patients who wrongly believed doctors were aware of the least expensive ways to prescribe medication.

When I had my gallbladder surgery, my surgeon prescribed individual packets of cholestramine. This was not covered by insurance. It cost me $119 out of pocket. After some research, I discovered I could get the same medication in a can for $40. Because there were no pre-weighed packets, I’d have to measure and scoop the powder into a glass. To save $79 a month, I’m willing to take that extra step.

When I discussed this with my surgeon, he was immediately on board to change the prescription to the lower-priced can.

I discovered another way to save money using an application called GoodRx. I had purchased a month supply of hyoscyamine. Again, Medicare wouldn’t pay. I was charged $96. I went on GoodRx and found the medication I’d just purchased, $53 cheaper at the same pharmacy!

I took my medication, my receipt, and my phone with the loaded app to the pharmacy. I showed them the price listed on GoodRx. I received a $53 refund.

Using GoodRx I saved $132 on two prescriptions in a month! For the many folks who must decide whether to eat or bear the out-of-pocket expense for medication, it’s vital to find the least expensive prescriptions. It falls on us to make sure we reduce our out-of-pocket expenses.

As a prostate cancer patient, I found the out-of-pocket costs for ED medication and the medication for penile injections to be outrageously high. The University of California San Francisco did something I believe every major cancer treatment center should be required to do.

They have an agreement with a local Walgreen’s to give prostate cancer patients a large discount on prescriptions for ED medication. The final cost was by no means cheap, but the savings were substantial.

There’s one other suggestion I have to help reduce costs. If you are younger than 65 and not on Medicare, you may be eligible to open a health savings account (HSA).

The money you are allowed to contribute to this account is tax-free. You can use your HSA to pay for prescription medications. You may need to meet with a professional to determine whether you are eligible to open an account, but the savings are worth it.

Here are four ways to reduce out-of-pocket expenses:

  • Use GoodRx.
  • Ask your doctor for generic or less expensive prescriptions.
  • Approach treatment centers to negotiate discounts.
  • Open an HSA and pay health care deductibles, copays and uncovered prescription medications from your health savings account.

If you’ve discovered other ways to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses for prescriptions and/or medical care, please share your success.

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Note: Prostate Cancer News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Prostate Cancer News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to prostate cancer.

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Rick Redner received his master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University. He has spent many years working as a medical and psychiatric social worker He is the author of the award winning book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? His second book Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants won the Beverly Hills International Book Awards in Men's Health in 2016.

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