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Questions for the Experts: How to reduce the cost of prescriptions

Questions for the Experts: How to reduce the cost of prescriptions

We asked members of our medical staff to answer some common questions they hear from their patients. Read Dr. Mark Hoskinson's answer to: Is there anything I can do to reduce the cost of my prescriptions?

A: It is extremely important for you to take all the medications prescribed by your doctor. But, I understand how difficult it can be for people with limited incomes.

A recent poll from Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29% of American adults are not taking medications as directed, either skipping or splitting doses, opting for over-the-counter medication instead or not filling their prescriptions at all, in order to cut costs.

So, what can you do to reduce the cost of your prescriptions?

  1. Try generics. Generic drugs have the same active ingredients as brand-name medications, but generics are substantially less expensive. Ask your provider if a generic version is available.
  2. Get a bigger dose. Some prescription medications can be divided with a pill splitter. Ask your doctor if that’s the case with your medication, and if it’s possible to get a double dose. Some medications cannot be split, such as capsules or tablets that are enteric-coated, or those that release medicine over time.
  3. Get a larger supply. Instead of getting a prescription that lasts for 30 days, and making an insurance copay each time, ask for a 90-day supply so you can make just one copay every three months. This works for medications you take long-term.
  4. Apply for assistance. There are many kinds of prescription assistance programs, offered by state and local governments, Medicare, nonprofit groups, and even drug makers. Nonprofit organizations include: Needy Meds and Partnership for Prescription Assistance.
  5. If you’re on Medicare, consider updating your plan. Medicare plans can change from year to year, including the medications they cover, and the copays and deductible amounts. You have an opportunity to switch Medicare plans during the annual enrollment period from October 15 to December 7. Review the options using Medicare’s personalized plan search on its website, If you have Medicare Part D, fill your prescriptions at one of your insurance company's preferred pharmacies, which should be listed on their website, to pay a lower co-pay.
  6. Shop around. Medication retail prices vary. Some pharmacies buy directly from drug makers; others use a middleman, which can drive up prices. Call pharmacies in your area to compare prices, or use a computer or smartphone app to do the work for you, such as WeRx or GoodRx.
  7. Pay the retail price instead of using insurance. Insurance companies routinely make changes to their coverage, and can reduce or eliminate coverage on certain drugs.
  8. Know your insurance. Learn the details of your health plan. If you have Medicare Part D, fill your prescriptions at a preferred pharmacy to pay a lower co-pay.

Are you looking for a healthcare provider? Visit

Mark Hoskinson, MD, works at the Campbell County Medical Group Internal Medicine Clinic located in the Main Clinic at 501 S. Burma Avenue in Gillette, Wyoming, on the south side of Campbell County Memorial Hospital. Internal Medicine provides adult medical care for patients with chronic medical conditions, treatment of day-to-day concerns and preventative checkups. Call 307.688.3636 for an appointment. Learn more at