When paying for a prescription, the last thing you want is to see a price you weren’t expecting. If you’ve ever struggled to pay for your medication, you’re not alone. More than half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug, yet 1 in 4 consumers say they struggle to afford their medication. What if the cost of the medication was discussed between doctors and their patients at the point of care before even getting to the pharmacy counter?
UnitedHealthcare’s recent Consumer Sentiment survey findings highlight the need for a wider use of resources that make pharmacy costs more transparent. Of survey respondents who take prescription medications, just over 10% said they “always” know the cost of the drugs before leaving the doctor’s office, while the majority (64%) said they “never” know the cost of the medications before leaving. Giving doctors more information in the care setting, such as medication cost, therapeutic equivalents, clinically similar alternatives and health plan information can help provide consumers health and savings opportunities while they’re still in the office.
The better doctors and their patients understand medication options and costs, the more likely patients are to get a prescription they can afford. When medication is affordable, people are more likely to adhere to their treatment plan and avoid potentially costly health care complications down the road. Nearly 70% of medication-related ER visits are due to non-adherence, impacting personal health and generating higher health care bills.
The next time your doctor prescribes a medication, consider these questions to make sure it’s a medication that meets your needs at the lowest cost available:
- Is the medication generic or brand nameOpens a new window?
- Does my health plan cover it?
- What tier is this medication in on my plan’s drug listOpens a new window? Is there a lower-tier option that would work for me?
- What should I expect to pay out of pocket at the pharmacy?
Don’t be afraid to openly communicate with your doctor about prescription prices, so the next time you visit the pharmacy you can see the price you expect.