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Saving money on prescription medications

Few things are as in style right now as saving money. You probably already figured out some ways to save on things like groceries and eating out, but what about ways to save money on prescription drugs? Jennifer Askew is the manager of the Outpatient Pharmacy Services at New Hanover Regional Medical Center and was on-air to share some tips and resources. KEEP AN UPDATED MEDICATION HISTORY & USE IT • Before you make a trip to the drug store or the doctor, take stock of what you already have at home. • Take a list of all medications or the medicines themselves (even non-prescription items, herbs, and supplements) to every doctor’s appointment. • Keep a list of all medications in your purse or wallet in case of emergency. USE GENERICS • The generics have the exact same active ingredients • The may be a different the color, taste, shape, or texture. • Generic medicines are also cheaper than name brand meds, usually between 30% and 60% cheaper. • There are name brands of other-the-counter drugs, too. Try buying the “store brand” instead of the “name brand”. Your pharmacist can assist you in finding these items, if needed. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR • If you're not familiar with how much a drug costs, ask your doctor for an estimate. This way, you won't be surprised at the pharmacy counter. • Let your doctor know if you have concerned about finances during your appointment. Often, there are medications that are less expensive, but just as effective or may have a generic available. • Encourage your doctor to call your pharmacy and speak with your pharmacist for assistance in selection medications for you TALK TO YOUR PHARMACIST • Ask your pharmacist to suggest a less costly alternative that you may be able to inquire about at your next doctor’s visit. • Your pharmacist can assist you in finding the most cost-effective over-the-counter products, if you ask for assistance. • Take a list of all medications or the medicines themselves (even non-prescription items, herbs, and supplements) to your pharmacy and review them with your pharmacist. KNOW YOUR INSURANCE OR MEDICARE PART D PLAN • Many insurance plans offer a printable “formulary”, a list of common medications and what they will cost. • If available, take a copy of your insurance or Medicare Part D formulary with you to doctor’s appointments. USE FLEXIBLE SPENING ACCOUNTS FROM YOUR EMPLOYER • Many companies offer flex spending accounts for medical costs. • In the beginning of the year, you decide how much money you think you're going to spend on healthcare bills • The advantage to using a flexible spending account is that the money is stashed away pre-tax. • Throughout the year, you submit medical and prescription bills and your company reimburses you with the money you've set aside. STORE MEDICATIONS PROPERLY • Not in the bathroom (due to heat/humidity) • Store them in a hall closet or in the kitchen. • Store medications in their original containers. Some medicines are very sensitive to light; removing them from their original amber-colored containers can let light in, making them expire quicker. Plus, dosage directions are on the original packaging. • Avoid mixing multiple different medications in the same container, unless using a weekly pill box. SHOP AROUND • Call around to find the best price. If you do not have insurance, the price of your medication may vary, depending on which pharmacy you use. • Many pharmacies have discount medication lists that can even be printed from the Internet. USE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS • Most programs are designed to help those that are uninsured • If you qualify, pharmaceutical companies may provide medications at little-to-no cost to you PROGRAMS TO HELP THE UNDERINSURED AND THE UNINSURED Websites: NeedyMeds ( American Pharmacists Association ( ASHP/PSSC Patient Assistance Program (PAP) Resource Center ( RxAssist Patient Assistance Center ( Partnership for Prescription Assistance ( RxHope ( Free Medicine Program ( Prescription Discount Cards • Together Rx Access ( • Your Rx Card ( Local Resources: Cape Fear HealthNet ( Tileston Clinic ( New Hanover Regional Medical Center ( Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) (Address: 2222 South College Road Phone: 910.798.6400) New Hanover County Health Department ( New Hanover County Department of Social Services ( New Hanover Community Health Center ( Access III of the Lower Cape Fear ( Wilmington Health Access for Teens ( Cape Fear Healthy Carolinians (

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