Tips for Aging Parents: Managing Medication Costs

Pills-in-pill-box-300x225.jpgPrescription drug prices are on the rise. Even with health insurance, many aging parents and others find themselves paying increasing amounts for the medications that they take on either a regular or as-needed basis.

Solving the problem of increasing drug costs is a long-term process; however, there are steps that individuals can take to reduce medication costs in the meantime. Check out the tips below.

Consider an over-the-counter (OTC) option. According to a Consumer Reports article from 2013, some individuals who regularly use prescription proton pump inhibitors to treat issues such as chronic heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) could save as much as $225 per month by switching to an OTC version of the medication. Patients should ask their doctors whether OTC versions of their current medications are available.

Do a medication review. Patients should review their medications with their doctors to determine whether each medication (1) is still necessary and (2) could be replaced by a cheaper and equally effective alternative (a generic brand, an OTC option).

Shop around. Seniors may benefit from checking with several pharmacies to find out the prices prescription medications. Prices may vary significantly from one drug store to the next. This step is especially important for those who have no health insurance or whose co-pay is based on a percentage rather than a flat rate. However, it can also be important for those whose health plan has a ceiling on how much will be covered in one year.

Stay on the plan. If a certain prescribed medication isn't covered by an insurance plan, patients may ask their doctors for acceptable alternatives that are properly covered. If a doctor believes that a certain drug is really the best option, but that drug is not covered, patients may request the doctor to write to the insurance company to recommend coverage.

Switch suppliers. Some plans have "preferred" pharmacies that offer much more advantageous pricing than do other pharmacies. Some plans also offer significant savings for clients who use specific mail order options. Weigh the cost savings benefits that might occur from switching to one of these options.

Make changes. Sometimes making lifestyle changes (such as diet and exercise) can have a significant impact on aging parents' health and may enable them to cease using certain medications. That's a win-win situation for both their overall health and their pocketbook.

Related Article
Is a Discount Drug Card Right for You?​ -


There are no comments on this post.
Looking for advice?

Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.

Sign up for advice

Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.

Please select at least one newsletter.
Valid email address is required
View sample
View sample
View sample