How to Save Money on Medicine

More Prescription Drug Saving Tips

Ask how much a medicine costs.

prescription drug bottle

Before leaving the office, inquire about the price tag of a prescribed drug. "I once really regretted not asking the pediatrician if she knew the cost of a prescription for my son," says Jessica Hartshorn, senior lifestyle editor at American Baby and mom of two. "My insurance didn't cover any of the cost, and I ended up spending $100 for diaper rash cream! Had I known, I would have definitely discussed alternatives."

Get a tax break.

Take advantage if your employer offers a Flexible Spending Account -- it lets you use pretax dollars from your salary to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses, prescription drugs, and even (in some cases) OTC drugs. The way it works: estimate what you'll spend, then you have to use that amount before year's end. If you're in the 25 percent federal tax bracket, for example, you can save about $250 for every $1,000 you contribute. That's a lot of extra bodysuits and bath toys that you can buy! Childcare expenses and mileage for transportation to the doctor may also be covered; ask your HR department for more details.

Transfer your prescriptions.

Search circulars and the Web for coupons. Many pharmacies, like CVS and Rite Aid, offer occasional coupons for gift cards (usually worth $25 to $30) if you transfer a prescription.

Cover your kids.

All U.S. states offer health insurance programs for children with working parents. They're either free or low-cost and cover prescription meds, doctor visits, hospitalizations, and much more. Rules vary by state, but in most, here's who's eligible: uninsured kids ages 18 and younger whose family earns up to $34,100 a year (for a family of four). For information, visit insurekidsnow.gov.

Sign up for discount drug cards.

If you don't have prescription drug coverage, these programs can help you save money on your meds. FamilyWize (familywize.org), for example, offers savings of 20 percent on many prescriptions, and it's free and accepted at more than 200 pharmacies nationwide. Other cards may charge a monthly or annual fee. But to avoid scams, be watchful and check out a plan before you enroll. Find more information on discount cards at rxassist.org, needymeds.org, or PPARx.org.

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