Advise Me

Prescription Cost Seems High? Don’t Panic!

Learning you have a chronic condition requiring treatment with long-term medication use can create a lot of feelings and questions. How can you remind yourself to take your pills at the same time each day? How will this impact your lifestyle? And most importantly — how will I afford the medication cost each month?

At one point in my life, I was on four different medications every month. The copays alone nearly gave me enough heartburn to warrant another.

Prescription medication cost

For those with no insurance or high copays, the sticker shock on their monthly prescriptions can surprise them. They even may wonder if this medicine is the best thing for them in the long run.

Cindy Boxerman, Banner’s Population Health Management Pharmacist, encourages you not to panic because there are other options.

“The pharmacist might suggest lower-cost alternative medications to discuss with your doctor or locate a prescription savings program that could help save you money.”

She added that generic prescriptions is one way to lower costs. And that is not something the patient even has to ask for.

“If there is a generic equivalent available, pharmacists will substitute with the lower-cost alternative unless the provider specifies ‘Do Not Substitute’ on the prescription,” Boxerman said. “In that case, the pharmacist is legally obligated to fill the prescription with the brand-name medication as specified by the provider.”

Save on prescription costs

Some other ways to save on prescriptions include:

  • If your provider prescribes a brand-name medication that does not have a lower-cost generic, ask your provider for alternatives. There may be a generic option in the same class of drugs, which can save money.
  • Prices can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, we suggest calling different pharmacies and comparing prices. Some pharmacy chains offer steep discounts on many generic medications.
  • The mail order pharmacy,, offers reasonably-priced prescriptions because they do not accept insurance.
  • Using your insurance plans mail order service or preferred pharmacy (“pharmacies” instead) may help reduce co-pays.
  • Banner Health Plan members have the benefit of filling blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma and diabetes medications for $0 co-pay at Banner Family Pharmacies.
  • Some manufacturers and insurance plans have patient assistance programs to help lower the cost of medications for patients who meet income requirements.
In the end, your pharmacist can be a great resource for helping you find the solution that works best for you when it comes to maintaining your health and your wallet.

“In most cases there is a way to reduce costs. Consider discussing your options with a pharmacist before going without your medications,” Boxerman said.

Pharmacy Health Insurance