healthy living saving money

Don’t Skip Medicine to Save Money on Prescriptions

Medicine isn’t cheap. Even if you have excellent health insurance, some prescriptions can be very costly. If you aren’t lucky enough to have good insurance, then the situation gets even worse. Therefore, it’s tempting to skip medicine to save money on prescriptions. Don’t do it. I speak from experience when I say that as frustrating as it can be to find affordable prescriptions, doing so is better than the alternative.

Why People Skip Medicine to Save Money on Prescriptions

If you have never been in this situation, then you might wonder how anyone could ever skip medicine that they need to save some money. It seems appalling. However, sometimes the money isn’t there. Sometimes people feel like they have no other choice. I’ve seen this firsthand.

My father is a two-time transplant patient (kidney then pancreas). Before that, he was an insulin-dependent diabetic. Therefore, he’s had to take medicine daily for my entire life. If he doesn’t take it, he could die. And yet, there have been times when getting that medication has been difficult. Every few years or so, the drug companies seem to change, or something shifts with the health insurance, and suddenly there’s a hassle with getting the meds.

Sometimes we’ve been able to resolve the hassles easily. Other times, it’s been much more difficult. In certain cases, the costs have been exorbitant. We aren’t the only ones going through this. In the past, I’ve attended his transplant support groups, where almost every single person had a horror story about how they couldn’t afford their life-saving medication.

Of course, it’s not just transplants that require medicine. People need medicine because of respiratory problems, heart conditions, mental health issues, and more. They have every desire and intention to take the medicine, but then sometimes happens, and it becomes cost-prohibitive.

How People Skip Medications

Most people don’t try to save money on prescriptions by just stopping their medicine altogether. Instead, they buy as much of it as they can afford. Then they try to make that prescription last as long as possible. For example, they may cut their dosage in half (without doctor permission) to make the meds last twice as long. Of course, this often results in tragedy. If you don’t get the right dosage of certain medications, then it’s almost like not taking them at all.

Other times, people choose to take the regular dose, but then they run out before they can afford a refill. In those cases, they may just not take their meds for a week or two at a time until they get a paycheck. This can be life-threatening. It’s effectively like stopping the meds cold turkey then starting them up again. There was a point years ago when I ran out of mental health medications, and the withdrawal effects were so terrible that they were life-threatening.

How to Safely Save Money on Prescriptions

Many people want to handle these situations on their own. However, doing so gets overwhelming. If you need meds and can’t afford them, you can spend hours on the phone or at the pharmacy trying to straighten things out. As hard as asking for help can be, it’s the best step that you can take to help you save money on prescriptions without having to skip medications. You can get help from:

  • Your doctor or the staff at the office
  • Customer service at the drug company
  • Pharmacy staff
  • Friends and family members

Professionals may be able to help you locate more affordable prescriptions. Friends could have tips, such as to use app-based tools that help you find the lowest prescription prices. People might contribute to a fundraiser to help you cover costs while you figure out other options. The help is out there, even though it feels like you’re alone. Devote yourself to finding ways to save money on prescriptions so that you don’t ever have to skip your meds.

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About the author

Kathryn Vercillo

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