How to Save Time and Money on Prescription Drugs

When prescription drug coverage is included in your health plan, it can help you cover the cost of covered medications that your physician prescribes.

Tips for Saving Money (and Time) on Your Prescriptions

  • Know when to order refills or set up automatic refills if it's a recurring prescription.  Pharmacies will tell you how many days ahead you can order a refill (so you can set up a reminder in your calendar) and/or if automatic refill is an option.
  • Call ahead.  Make sure your prescription is ready and filled before you head to the pharmacy.
  • Avoid the crowds.  Pharmacies are often busiest when people have lunch breaks from work and at night between 5 - 7 p.m. - try to plan your pick up outside these windows to avoid the lines.
  • Stock up on your medicine.  If you have a chronic medical condition, you may qualify for a 3-month supply of your Rx at a retail or mail order pharmacy.  This will save you unnecessary trips to the pharmacy.
  • Ask for a generic version of your Rx.  Oftentimes, insurance carriers won't cover brand-name drugs if there is a generic version available (unless there is a medical reason that a generic cannot be used), so be sure to check with your doctor and pharmacist.
  • Shop around. This one seems obvious, but drug costs can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, especially on plans with deductibles.

If you obtained health insurance through the Obamacare marketplace (Covered California), you can access additional Prescription Drug resources and changes for 2016 here:

Bonus tip!

If you're getting a new prescription, be sure to ask your doctor if you need prior authorization before you pick up the Rx at the pharmacy.  Also ask if there are any special instructions for taking the medicine, such as when to take the medicine (e.g. morning or night), and with or without food.  Some medications shouldn't be taken together so be sure to ask about drug interactions.  And finally, ask what you should do if you accidentally miss a dose.