Living with Chronic Pain

Ways to Reduce Medication Costs


The cost of prescription medications can be expensive for many individuals with chronic pain. Some individuals who are on disability or whose medical insurance does not cover much in terms of prescription medications may need to decide between paying for their medication or other household expenses. For individuals with better insurance, co-pays can still be quite costly.

Here are some general tips to help reduce medication costs:

  • Check what medications are in your insurance’s formulary. This is important as insurance companies regularly change their formularies, removing medications from coverage or requiring that certain medications be pre-authorized.
  • Review which medications in the insurance formulary are listed in terms of cost tiers. It may be possible to switch to a medication in a less expensive tier.
  • Take the list of medications from the insurance formulary to doctor appointments and consult it when a new medication is being discussed to check if it is covered and how expensive it may be.
  • Consider switching to a generic version of the medication if one is available.
  • Discuss with the prescribing doctor if a similar medication (i.e., medication in the same class) is available that can be substituted at a lower cost.
  • Look for coupons on manufacturers’ websites.
  • Check online for prescription assistance programs (some will even cover individuals who are under-insured).
  • Compare prices at several pharmacies.
  • Check out chain pharmacies’ drug-saving plans that can be joined for free or at a low cost.
  • Ask a pharmacist for help to reduce costs.
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