By Regina Novickis • January 10, 2014
A friend of mine recently changed jobs and during the period in which she was ineligible for her new employer’s health plan, she opted to take her chances without insurance. So what happened? Two weeks before her new health insurance was set to kick in, she came down with strep throat.
Luckily, it wasn’t a major medical expense, but no matter what your situation, there are some great ways to save on your health costs. Here is how to reduce your prescription costs:
Set up a health savings account (HSA). An HSA, or health savings account, is a tax-advantaged medical savings account, available to taxpayers who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan. Contributions are withdrawn pre-tax, and can be used to pay medical expenses, including for things like co-pays, prescription drugs, etc. Unlike an FSA (Flexible Spending Account), HSA contributions do not expire at the end of the year.
Don't buy glasses/contacts directly from your doctor. Go online to sites like promocodes.com to find big discounts on glasses and contacts from stores like Coastal.com. You can currently find a Coastal promo code offering 20% off all prescription glasses and sunglasses (excluding Oakley’s) and free shipping. Prescription eyewear is typically 50% less when shopping on Coastal.com vs local retail stores, even without the additional savings. You can also buy a year’s supply of Air Optix Night & Day contacts from Coastal for only $161, which is nearly HALF the cost of what we found when calling a few optometrists’ offices.
Comparison shop for prescription drug prices. Most consumers have no idea that prices for prescription drugs can vary by pharmacy, whether you have insurance or not. It's worth comparison shopping and asking for a discount. Thanks to the Internet, you can research prices not only on TVs, cars and travel, but also on prescription prices. Visit sites like GoodRx to find savings in your area.
Don’t assume insurance will give you the best rate. If you're insured, don't assume your prescription plan offers the best price. Some high-volume discounters, such as Costco, offer great deals for cash-paying customers, particularly on generic drugs.
Split your pills / find an alternative. Another thing you can do is talk to your doctor about your prescription options. Many drugs can be prescribed in a higher dosage and then split. The higher dosage typically costs far less than double the lower dosage, which equals big savings.
Buy discounted gift cards online. Visit sites such as CardCash that resell discounted gift cards to find savings up to 30% off of pharmacies such as Rite-Aid, Walgreen’s and Target. Gift cards are re-sold online at a discount and can be used as currency to make your prescription or over-the-counter medication purchases.
Regina Novickis Regina Novickis is a savings expert with a passion for helping people make easy money decisions without drastically altering their lifestyle.