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Do more with less: Saving money on medication

Categories: Frugal Living, Hacking Life, Uncategorized, do more with less

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Before you weigh in (or opt out) of the current debate about health care, you should first read the HR3200 bill for yourself. (Don’t feel like sifting through all 1,018 pages of it? A group of voice actors, including Work It, Mom! member Mandy Nelson of Dandysound, have recorded it as an audio book. Check it out.)

Once you’ve done that, you need to sift through the rhetoric, from President Obama’s speech to Congress yesterday to Sarah Palin’s Wall Street Journal piece and everything in between. (The American Nurses Association has put together a great fact sheet that can help.)

And, if you’re like me, you’ll probably need to find ways to save money on medication while you’re waiting to see how healthcare reform affects you.

My company is poised to switch us from our current health insurance plan — which is actually pretty good — to one with higher weekly premiums, less coverage, and $9,000 worth of up-front costs and deductibles.

We have five kids. One of them has Autism. Another has scoliosis. One is plays lacrosse and volleyball and has a bum ankle that gets reinjured regularly.  Another has already done time in the ER  – twice. And the youngest is a 2-year-old boy, so we might as well pencil in a few extra doctor’s visits on his calendar, just because.

So, I’m looking to trim costs wherever I can. Since the new plan leaves us with little prescription drug coverage, it made sense to see what else was out there. And, since I’m far from the only person facing this issue right now, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve dug up:

1.) Target offers many generic medications at $4 for a 30-day supply, or $10 for a 90-day supply. Other amounts are available, and those costs are reasonable, too. WalMart also has a similar program.

2.) Walgreens has a prescription drug “club” program that offers lower prices on generics and some name brand drugs. It includes insulin, medicines for your pets, and you also earn a 10-percent credit-type bonus that you can use on all other Walgreens purchases. You have to pay a membership fee ($20 per year for individuals, $35 per year families) to join, but if prescription medication is a reoccuring cost for your family, it’s well worth it.

3.) You don’t have to have a Costco membership to fill prescriptions at their pharmacies. They offer many name-brand medications at cost – which is still pricey, but at least you avoid the typical drug-store markup. (If you think the markup is a myth, it’s worth reading the Snopes take on it here.)

How are you holding down your family’s health care costs?

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One comment so far...

  • Lylah,

    Thanks for the great meds tips! And thanks for helping to spread the word about Now people can download it for free to their mp3 players, listen, and make informed decisions.

    Who knew about the markups? Thanks!


    Mandy Nelson  |  September 11th, 2009 at 1:30 pm