Tips for Saving on Preventive Medications
Earlier this year, my husband, Gary, had triple-bypass open heart surgery. We went from being a family who had only the occasional prescription for antibiotics to one managing multiple medications each day. This was a big change in a lot of ways, including finding a way to stick to Gary’s new drug regimen so he’d stay healthy.
Keeping a Schedule
When we came home from the hospital, Gary and I were both overwhelmed with having to keep track of his six new daily medications. Gary was recovering from major surgery, so it became my job to figure out his medications. I knew from my work at Florida Blue that one of the biggest reasons people end up back in the hospital is because they don’t take their medications the way they were told. And after spending 10 nights at Florida Hospital, there was no way I wanted to head back. To help you stay on track after a hospital stay, here are my tips:
- Write it out. Keep a diary of when you need to take your meds and when you actually take them. To be sure Gary’s body was responding to the medications properly, we also wrote down his blood pressure and temperature at these intervals.
- Set an alarm. We both set 4 alarms on our cell phones throughout the day to be sure we both remembered it was time for Gary to take his meds. It’s easy to set a daily, recurring alarm and we were able to label each alarm differently so we could easily see what drug was due.
- Box them up. As cliché as this may sound, using a pill box really brought sanity to our lives. Even with keeping a diary and setting reminders on our phones, life happens and sometimes we’d be left trying to remember if he took his mid-afternoon dose. The pillbox was the proof: if the pill was gone, he’d taken it.
Comparing Drug Costs
Once we got Gary in a routine to take his prescribed drugs faithfully, we still had to deal with actually getting the prescriptions each month. We all know that even with prescription coverage, the cost for medications can add up. With multiple drugs he had to take each day, we wanted to get the most bang for our buck, as conveniently as possible. With a little research and help from the Florida Blue Care Consultants, we figured out the easiest and most cost-effective way to get his medications. Here’s what I learned:
- Ask for the generic. We asked his doctor if generic medications were an option for him—and they were! We were able to get Gary’s preventive medications at a very small cost to us.
- Shop around. Something I never realized is that different pharmacies charge different amounts for prescriptions. Before we got Gary’s prescription filled, I compared prices of his medications on my Florida Blue member account. I was surprised to find out that his prescriptions were the least expensive from Walgreens! And Walgreens is just around the corner from where we live, so it was convenient.1
- Get a 90-day supply. Once Gary’s doctors were able to get drug dosage levels evened out, we were able to start getting a 90-day supply of his preventive drugs at one time, which meant fewer trips to the pharmacy. We found we could save even more by getting a 90-day supply by mail order, and it would be delivered to our door. Some of his generic medications were on a preventive list that cost us $0 for 90 days’ worth!
The last several months since Gary’s operation have been challenging. He’s still recovering, but he’s getting stronger every day. His medication routine is now just a part of our life. He has consistently taken his medications and gone for follow-up appointments. We’re both happy and healthy, and we’re able to get Gary’s medications conveniently and at a reasonable cost. Life is good!
1 Drug prices are subject to change, so be sure to check the Drug Comparison tool in your Florida Blue member account before you go to the pharmacy.