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Prescription Drugs — Saving Money

Overview

This topic was prepared to help consumers save money on prescription drugs.

Note: This topic was prepared to help consumers find reliable health resources on the web. The information here (and on all websites) is not a substitute for medical care by a health professional. Please discuss what you find with your healthcare provider.

Definitions

Copay — The flat amount paid by an insured person when a prescription is filled.

Generic drug — A copy of a brand-name drug that has the same dose (amount of medication) and intended use. Generic drugs usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

Formulary versus nonformulary drugs — The list of drugs covered (paid for) by a specific insurance company. Some formularies offer different prices for brand-name and generic drugs within the list of covered drugs.

Tips for People With Health Insurance

If you have health insurance, you probably have a different copayment for generics, formulary and nonformulary drugs. If your doctor prescribes a drug that is not covered by your health insurance, or that costs more because it's not on the formulary, ask about a lower-cost or covered alternative.

ConsumerReportsHealth.org, Consumer Reports
This resource gives comprehensive information about pharmaceuticals from a consumer's viewpoint, including information about generic drugs.

You also may be able to save money by using a mail-order or Internet pharmacy. The links below will help you understand how to safely purchase drugs online or by mail.

Protect Yourself: Buying Medicines Online, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
This resource from the FDA offers consumer information about buying medicines safely online.

Internet Pharmacies, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
Not all Internet pharmacies are operating safely and legally. This link will allow consumers to verify whether an online pharmacy is operating legally with a state license.

Tips for People With Medicare

These links will help consumers find answers to questions about the Medicare drug card and other supplemental Medicare insurance.

Medicare Counseling and Assistance, Aspen Club
The Aspen Club, a service of University of Colorado Health, provides experts to answer questions about the Medicare prescription drug benefit, supplemental insurance, long-term care, medical record keeping and more.

Medicare
This link lets you search for Medicare prescription drug plans and then compare plans.

Tips for Veterans

Qualified veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces may qualify for prescription assistance. Fort Collins has an outpatient veterans clinic. Call 970-224-1550 for more information.

Tips for People Without Health Insurance

If you don't have health insurance or your insurance doesn't cover prescription drugs, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she may be able to provide free samples of some drugs and/or prescribe generic or low-cost drugs.

Many drug companies offer free or low-cost drugs for uninsured people who have low incomes. The links below will help you learn more about these assistance programs.

NeedyMeds
This site is designed to provide information about patient assistance programs that provide no-cost prescription medications to eligible participants.

Prescription Assistance Program, Health District of Northern Larimer County
The Health District's Prescription Assistance Program helps people in Fort Collins and northern Larimer County (who have limited incomes and meet guidelines) fill their prescriptions through vouchers and applications to drug-company programs for free or reduced-cost medicines. Call 970-416-6519 for more information.

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