Saving money on prescription and over the counter meds

Posted by Becky Gulden

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's day fourteen of our series 20 days, 20 ways to survive the economy and we're talking about the price of medicine.

Every year, national health insurance costs go up about 20 percent, plus many companies are cutting back on the portion they're willing to pay.

That leaves most of us to pay for more of our overall health care.

You can't control how much your visit to the doctor costs, but you can save money on medications.

Meds whether prescription or over the counter can really take a bite out of your budget.

So what are your options?

Let's start with prescription medications.

For some of us it's one, maybe two that we take on a daily basis.

But if you have a pressing medical condition like say one of our Barbara's Buddies who's a diabetic the list of medications and supplies can be quite long and expensive.

As a way to save some money just about all the pharmacies now have some sort of prescription discount program like CVS, Wallgreens, Rite Aid, Target & Walmart.

Let's look at the last two store's pharmacies:

Walmart and Target have similar programs where you can get a 30-day supply of a generic prescription drug for $4 while a 90 day supply will run you 10.

For all of these programs it's a matter of contacting the pharmacies and seeing if there is a generic version of your prescribed medication that is approved by your doctor.

And then there's an option of getting prescriptions by mail.

This is especially helpful if you're on a medication that has no cheaper generic version.

After making a few calls we found out you can basically get two months worth for the price of one.

Some companies offer 3 month increments for even more savings.

So how do you navigate your options?

First, call your insurance company or prescription vendor and ask "which is my preferred mail service?"

We checked with Caremark which again offers generics and specialty drugs for half the price if you order a 60 day supply at once.

If you have access to a computer you can register for these kinds of programs online.

Then download and print out a mail order form.

From there you'll need to get your doctor to give you a 60-day supply prescription... (or 90 days depending on the company).

Then you mail it all in with your payment and expect your meds in about two weeks.