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Smart Benefits: Five Ways to Save on Prescription Drugs

Monday, December 26, 2016

 

The rising costs of prescription drugs are straining family budgets. And according to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation of over 1,200 adults nationally, affordability of these medications top the public’s list of priorities for the President and Congress. While consumers wait for change, they can lower their drug spending by taking advantage of a number of cost-saving opportunities, including: 

Shop around. Prices for drugs can vary widely between pharmacies. If a plan doesn’t have a preferred pharmacy, members should compare costs at multiple pharmacies.  Walmart and Target both offer $4 30-day generic refills for certain medications. For more options, there are a number of free online tools and apps like GoodRx and OneRx that compare prices for drugs in a certain geographic area.

Consider switching to a generic or other less expensive alternative. Consumers should ask their physician if they can try a generic version of prescription medication. According to the FDA, choosing generic over brand-name drugs generally saves shoppers as much as 80-85 percent. If a generic’s not available, patients should review their health plan’s prescription drug tiers and ask their doctor if they can switch to a clinically equivalent drug on a lower tiered formulary list. 

Split pills. Since many drugs cost about the same per pill, no matter the dosage, patients should ask their physician if they can shift to a prescription for half as many pills at double the strength. Then they simply need to use a pill splitter to cut the tablets in two.

Change to mail order for maintenance medications. For drugs taken on a regular basis, patients can get up to a three-month supply through mail order for a lower copay than they’d be responsible for at retail. 

Review insurance plan options. During open enrollment, consumers should compare options. Key things to consider are formulary lists so patients can determine whether their medications are covered and in what price tier as well as deductibles. For example, if a patient has to pay the full cost of high-priced medications until they meet their deductible, it may make sense to choose a plan with a higher monthly premium and a lower deductible.

Rob Calise is the Managing Director, Employee Benefits. of Cornerstone|Gencorp, where he helps clients control the costs of employee benefits by focusing on consumer driven strategies and on how to best utilize the tax savings tools the government provides. Rob serves as Chairman of the Board of United Benefit Advisors, and is a board member of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI Broker Advisory Board, United HealthCare of New England Broker Advisory Board and Rhode Island Business Healthcare Advisors Council. He is also a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), American Health Insurance Association (AHIA) and the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC), as well as various human resource associations. Rob is a graduate of Bryant University with a BS in Finance.

 

Related Slideshow: #50 to #1: Doctors in Worcester That Received the Most Money from Drug Companies

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#50

Doctor: BOGDAN NEDELESCU

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine

Drug Company Money: $7,711

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#49

Doctor: NIKOLAOS KAKOUROS

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease

Drug Company Money: $7,787

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#48

Doctor: DANIEL TANENBAUM

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Drug Company Money: $8,430

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#47

Doctor: J.Lock

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism

Drug Company Money: $8,459

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#46

Doctor: PETER TOMAIOLO

Field: Other Service Providers/Specialist

Drug Company Money: $8,711

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#45

Doctor: DAVID HARLAN

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism

Drug Company Money: $8,734

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#44

Doctor: WALTER ETTINGER

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine

Drug Company Money: $8,926

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#43

Doctor: STANLEY TAM

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery)

Drug Company Money: $8,993

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#42

Doctor: JAN CERNY

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Hematology & Oncology

Drug Company Money: $9,004

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#41

Doctor: ROBERTO BOMPREZZI

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Psychiatry & Neurology, Neurology

Drug Company Money: $9,015

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#40

Doctor: PATRICK CONNOLLY

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Orthopaedic Surgery

Drug Company Money: $9,422

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#39

Doctor: SALEEM KHANANI

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Hematology & Oncology

Drug Company Money: $10,432

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#38

Doctor: CHRISTIAN DIPAOLA

Field:  Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Orthopaedic Surgery

Drug Company Money: $10,501

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#37

Doctor: KEVIN FLOYD

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology

Drug Company Money: $10,521

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#36

Doctor: CHRISTOPHER VINTON

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Orthopaedic Surgery

Drug Company Money: $10,547

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#35

Doctor: MICHAEL BRADBURY

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Ophthalmology

Drug Company Money: $11,285

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#34

Doctor: SPIRO KHOURY

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine

Drug Company Money: $11,569

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#33

Doctor: CAROLINA IONETE

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Psychiatry & Neurology, Neurology

Drug Company Money: $12,513

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#32

Doctor: CURUCHI ANAND

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine

Drug Company Money: $14,792

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#31

Doctor: CHARLES BIRBARA

Field: Other Service Providers/Specialist

Drug Company Money: $15,061

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#30

Doctor: JENNIFER PAPPALARDO

Field: Podiatric Medicine & Surgery Service Providers/Podiatrist, Foot & Ankle Surgery

Drug Company Money: $15,218

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#29

Doctor: LAWRENCE GARBER

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine

Drug Company Money: $15,357

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#28

Doctor: THEO MEYER

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease

Drug Company Money: $16,199

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#27

Doctor: JOHN WIXTED

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Orthopaedic Surgery

Drug Company Money: $16,292

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#26

Doctor: LLOYD FISHER

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Pediatrics

Drug Company Money: $16,939

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#25

Doctor: SETH KATES

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Dermatology

Drug Company Money: $17,106

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#24

Doctor: WILLIAM BALCOM

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Orthopaedic Surgery

Drug Company Money: $17,189

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#23

Doctor: IRA OCKENE

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease

Drug Company Money: $20,250

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#22

Doctor: ALAN ROTHMAN

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease

Drug Company Money: $21,366

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#21

Doctor: MARK PRICE

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Orthopaedic Surgery

Drug Company Money: $21,649

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#20

Doctor: KRISHNA KANDARPA

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Radiology, Diagnostic Radiology

Drug Company Money: $22,864

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#19

Doctor: DAVID CAVE

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology

Drug Company Money: $26,454

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#18

Doctor: CHRISTOPHER MACOMBER

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Surgery

Drug Company Money: $27,285

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#17

Doctor: RAYMOND DUNN

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Drug Company Money: $28,671

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#16

Doctor: BONNIE WEINER

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease

Drug Company Money: $28,951

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#15

Doctor: HERBERT MARKLEY

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Psychiatry & Neurology, Neurology

Drug Company Money: $35,233

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#14

Doctor: SARAH CUTRONA

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine

Drug Company Money: $37,108

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#13

Doctor: YARON GOLDMAN

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease

Drug Company Money: $41,206

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#12

Doctor: ITALO LINFANTE

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Radiology, Diagnostic Radiology

Drug Company Money: $63,654

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#11

Doctor: JEAN MARIE HOUGHTON

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology

Drug Company Money: $63,972

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#10

Doctor: MOHAMAD OCH

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Psychiatry & Neurology, Psychiatry

Drug Company Money: $74,245

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#9

Doctor: FREDERIK PENNINGS

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Neurological Surgery

Drug Company Money: $80,495

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#8

Doctor: JAY MARLIN

Field: Dental Providers/Dentist, Endodontics

Drug Company Money: $90,669

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#7

Doctor: BILAL PIPERDI

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Hematology & Oncology

Drug Company Money: $95,534

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#6

Doctor: GEORGE ABRAHAM

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine

Drug Company Money: $97,836

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#5

Doctor: JONATHAN KAY

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

Drug Company Money: $121K

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#4

Doctor: ANDRES SCHANZER

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Surgery, Vascular Surgery

Drug Company Money: $126K

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#3

Doctor: BRIAN BUSCONI

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Orthopaedic Surgery

Drug Company Money: $209K

Prev Next

#2

Doctor: TARIQ MUGHAL

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Internal Medicine, Hematology & Oncology

Drug Company Money: $432K

Prev Next

#1

Doctor: AJAY WAKHLOO

Field: Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians/Radiology, Diagnostic Radiology

Drug Company Money: $1.01 Million

 
 

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