(BPT) – Modern medications can work wonders, improving quality of life, curing illness and even saving lives. However, those miracles can come at a high cost, as anyone who’s had to pay for branded prescription medication knows. In fact, spending on prescription drugs has increased 73 percent in the past seven years, according to a new report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA).
What’s driving the increase
The Health of America Report found prescription drug spending by Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) members increased 10 percent annually since 2010. High costs of patent-protected drugs account for the lion’s share of the total increase.
Generic drugs account for 82 percent of total prescriptions filled, but account for just 37 percent of total drug spending. By contrast, patent-protected prescription drugs comprise less than 10 percent of all prescriptions filled but account for 63 percent of total drug spending, the report found.
‘Experience and past price trends suggest drug costs will continue to rise in the future,’ says Maureen Sullivan, chief strategy and innovation officer for BCBS. ‘The need for more affordable generic alternatives to costly patent-protected brand-name pharmaceuticals is urgent. As prices continue to rise, more consumers will be looking for ways to curb the cost of their medications.’
What you can do
It is possible to lower your drug costs while still taking the medications your doctor has prescribed to help your health. BCBSA offers some guidance:
* If your doctor prescribes a costly name-brand medication, ask your physician or pharmacist if a generic version is available. Generic drugs are identical to their brand-name equivalents in dosage form, safety, strength and quality, how you take them, performance and intended use, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Generics typically cost less than name-brand medications. The BCBSA report shows how costs for medicines like Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Avapro (irbesartan) plummet when generic alternatives become available.
* It may be possible for your doctor to prescribe a higher strength than you need of a particular medication and allow you to split the tablet or pill to get the lower dose you need at a lower cost. In fact, many pills that can be safely split come pre-scored with an indentation that makes it easier to cut them in half. However, not all prescription medications can be safely split, so be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether it’s safe to split your medications.
* Ordering prescription medications through the mail could lower drug costs, but it’s important to ensure you’re buying from your pharmacy benefit manager, typically listed on the back of an insurance card. The FDA recommends you only purchase drugs from organizations located in the U.S. and licensed by the state board of pharmacy where the company operates (find a list of state boards of pharmacy at www.nabp.info). The mail order pharmacy should have a licensed pharmacist available to answer your questions, require a prescription from your doctor in order to sell you medication, and have someone you can talk to directly if you have questions or problems.
* Another way to reduce drug costs is to ask your doctor to write your prescription for a 90-day supply so that you will get a three-month supply of the medication for the price of one co-pay.
* Finally, review your prescriptions with your doctor at least every six months to ensure you’re not taking any more medicines than you absolutely need. However, never skip doses of medicine, avoid refilling a prescription or stop taking medicine altogether without first consulting your doctor.
For more information about prescription drug costs, and to read the full Health of America report, visit www.bcbs.com/healthofamerica.
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* http://www.LibertySeniorSavings.com 88 Medicare Questions in 88 Days (888) 506-7510
Hi there, this is Nicole w/ Liberty Senior Savings. Thank you for watching our video series entitled "88 Medicare Questions in 88 Days" where we attempt to answer the most commonly asked Medicare question. Today I want to talk to you about
"Ways to save money on your Prescription Drug Plan"
Here at Liberty Senior Savings we are committed to helping our clients save as much money on possible so drug plan, which is one of the ways that we check on. There are 5 different ways that you can consider to help you with your drug plan costs.
#1: Join a Part D Drug Plan even if you do not feel that you need it. It is called a placeholder plan. You get the least expensive plan based on your zip code whichever pharmacy you like and what is going to matter for you is you will not have any late penalties for your prescription plan if you get it later. Medicare charges 1% per month late fee for every single month that you were eligible for the prescription drug plan but chose not to get it that's a lifetime penalty so that's one way.
#2: Do not go more than 63 days without what we call creditable coverage that is coverage that is recognized by Medicare you will not get any late penalties.
#3: When you are joining your drug plan, make sure you tell your provider about any plans that you have had in the past so that they can look into it and see if you have a creditable coverage. When you do have a creditable coverage, you are going to get that in writing so put that piece of paper side that is important that will save you penalties.
#4: Check every year to make sure that you are still on the best plan for you for your Part D Drug Plan. There is only one time of the year where you can change your drug plan and that is in the fall that October 15 - December 7 annual enrollment period. We do have a video on that or give us a call. This is something that we do for our clients regularly. If you just change even one little prescription that could change the whole plan, so check on the yearly. You can go to www.medicare.gov. I will show you in a different video or we are very happy to do it for you. It is one of our customer services that we provide.
#5: If your income is limited and you live in one of 50 states including the District of Columbia you might be eligible for extra help there's different ways in finding out if you are like you can call Social Security 1-800-772-1213 or go online to www.ssa.gov/extrahelp . They're very nice over there. They will walk you through the whole process but if you would like paperwork, we are happy to put that in the mail for you. You might as well apply even if you are not in those limits. They might be able to help you with some savings and anything that they can give you in savings is worth it. I have clients that aren't specifically under that threshold but still get help and according to medicare.gov that help could be worth as much as ,000 to you depending on your prescriptions, income, everything so that's just a general.
So those are the ways that you can save money on your prescription drug plan. Medicare really tries it to make easy for you. We are very happy to help navigate you through the whole process, so please feel free to give us a call at
(888) 506-7510. Or if you are like many folks that just don't understand this whole Medicare thing because it's so confusing. Have a look at our Medicare mini course; it is a 6-part video series. You will find that at www.GetMedicareSavings.com. We hope this has been informative. Please feel free to reach out to us if we can answer any questions. Of course, our services are completely free. Thank you for watching this video and I hope that you have a lovely day.
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