Up to half of adults don’t follow their medication regimen. The main reason? Forgetfulness. The next three reasons – running out of medication, being away from home, or skipping doses to save money – can be alleviated with a little planning and research.
Nearly half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug, and more than a third of people over 45 take three or more prescription drugs. That can be a lot to juggle. Drug costs are no joke, either. In 2015, the U.S. spent $310 billion on prescription drugs – that’s about $1,000 per person.
Knowing how to get the most from your prescription benefits can help you manage the logistics and costs of your family’s medications.
1. Ask your experts to help you save money
Enlist your team of prescription pros – your doctor, pharmacist and health plan – for help:
- Find a network pharmacy. Do this by checking your plan’s directory online or call the number on the back of your ID card. You may pay less at these pharmacies.
- Ask your doctor to prescribe the medication that meets your needs at the lowest expense to you. Your health plan may provide tools so your doctors know what each prescription will cost you.
- Check your enrollment materials or visit your health plan’s website for information on how to download your health plan’s app to manage your medications on the go and use drug-pricing tools with your health plan’s app or website to see how much your medications will cost.
- Explore options with your doctor and pharmacist. Your best value may come from home delivery, receiving a 90-day supply at once.
2. Avoid a scramble
Sidestep the pitfalls of running out of medicine by:
- Having medication on hand before you travel or switch to home delivery. Aim to have a month’s supply before a home-delivery transition.
- Setting automatic refill reminders with your pharmacy, so you aren’t caught unprepared.
- Contacting your pharmacy several days before you run out of medication to request a refill. Your pharmacist may need to contact your doctor for approval, or your doctor may want to evaluate your condition first.
- Understanding preauthorization – for some medicines, your doctor will need to provide additional information to confirm the reason you are taking the medication to ensure it’s covered under your pharmacy benefit.
3. Lean on apps, auto-reminders and online tools
Today, medication information is more accessible than ever. Check your enrollment materials or your health plan’s website for information on how to manage your pharmacy benefits online or on the go via your plan’s app.
Following your medication regimen is an important part of staying healthy. Don’t be shy about asking how to get medicine you can afford, in a way that’s convenient for you.