Published on Jan 19, 2011 with 0 comment
Treating your allergies or asthma properly can be expensive. Statistics from the American Academy of Allergy have estimated the cost of treating allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies or hayfever) and asthma is on the order of many billions of dollars per year in the U.S. The costs that patients face are both direct (medications, doctor visits, hospital stays etc) and indirect (missed work or school, decreased productivity on the job etc).
Both add up rapidly to become a big part of health care costs for patients and insurance companies. The following are suggestions for patients who are interested in saving money on their prescription medications. Working with your doctor is the best way to find ways to control spiraling prescription medication costs.
This may seem obvious, but it is probably the best long term way to save money. Many medications such as nasal steroid sprays (Flonase, Nasonex, Veramyst, Rhinocort AQ, Nasacort AQ) and inhaled steroids (Flovent, Asmanex, Qvar, Azmacort, Advair, Symbicort) and Leukotriene blockers (Singulair or Accolate) work best as “Controller Medications”.
Controller means that taking the medicine daily prevents symptoms and illness. If you can prevent allergy symptoms, or a flare of asthma, you save health care dollars and money out of your pocket by not needing additional medications such as antibiotics, or incurring co-pays for sick visits. You and your kids will also miss less work and school, which makes you more productive in the long run.
Many insurance plans come with pharmacy benefits that offer discounts if you order ninety day supplies of medications. Since many allergy and asthma medications need to be taken on a preventative basis (“controller”), having several months supply of medication on hand makes sense, may allow for discounts, and will save you several trips to the pharmacy.
Physicians have a difficult time keeping up with which medications are covered best by your insurance plan. Do your homework to see if your insurance plan has a list of medications, or formulary, which outlines which medications they cover at lower, or generic, co-pays and discuss this with your physician during a visit. Often times, physicians are happy to switch a patient to a medication that is covered well by their plan as long as it is safe and provides equal benefits.
There is a trend now for pharmaceutical companies to provide fewer samples and more coupons or discount cards for their medications. Often these coupons will lower or totally eliminate the entire co-pay. Many coupon offers provide you a month’s free supply of medications and enroll you in future discount programs.
TheOnlineAllergist.com compiles many allergy and asthma medication coupon offers to help patients. You can also Google coupons or discount offers for your allergy or asthma medications. Another good resource is the website of the pharmaceutical company that makes your medication. Often these coupons are not quite as good as what you can find at your doctor’s office, but they can save you a great deal of money and are easy to use.