It's estimated that people in the United States spent roughly £350 billion on prescription drugs in 2020. It's expected that this number will continue to increase by 3 to 6 percent per year. If you're finding it difficult to fit your prescriptions into your budget, you're not alone.
In a 2019 survey, about a quarter of Americans reported having trouble affording their medications. Many companies and organizations offer discount programs that can help you save money on your prescriptions. Many of these programs are available for people without insurance and have no application fee.
In this article, we're going to look at several ways to get discounts on prescription drugs, from free discount cards to customer programs, as well as nonprofit aids. There are many tools you can use to save money on your prescriptions. Below are seven popular tools or discount cards that you may be able to take advantage of.
SingleCare is a prescription savings card available to all United States residents over the age of 13 for free.
You can use the SingleCare discount card at more than 35,000 participating pharmacies, and it covers a broad range of medications. The card is accepted at major pharmacies such as:
- CVS pharmacy
According to the SingleCare website, you can use your card to save up to 80 percent on prescription prices. Your SingleCare card works for your family and friends as well, even if they're not SingleCare members.
You can use the SingleCare app or their website to compare the prices of your medication at pharmacies in your area. Once you find the best price, you can then download a free coupon card and show it to your pharmacist for your discount. You can't combine your SingleCare with your insurance.
However, SingleCare's prices are sometimes lower than an insurance copay, so it's worth checking SingleCare, even if you are insured. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gave SingleCare an A+ rating. The BBB is a non-profit organization that provides a letter grade for companies based on their trustworthiness and how they interact with customers.
Pros of SingleCare
- free to sign up
- accepted at more than 35,000 pharmacies
- insurance not required
- offers £5 off your next prescription for signing up and has a bonus savings program
Cons of SingleCare
- doesn't offer price matching
- has a smaller pharmacy network than some other programs
The America's Pharmacy prescription savings card is free for American adults.
Like the SingleCare card, it can help you save up to 80 percent on prescription drugs. It's accepted at 62,000 pharmacies across the country including:
- CVS pharmacy
The card also lets you save on the costs of medications for your family members and pets. To get started, you can log on to the America's Pharmacy app or website and enter the name of the medication you need.
The site will show you the price of the drug in your area. Once you find the best price, you can download a coupon and show it to your pharmacist.
Pros of America's Pharmacy
- accepted at 62,000 pharmacies across the United States
- no fees
- can help you save up to 80 percent on prescriptions
- can be used for family members and pets
Cons of America's Pharmacy
- not all brand name medications included
ScriptSave WellRx is another discount card that can help you save money on both brand name and generic prescriptions. It's accepted at more than 65,000 pharmacies in the United States.
There's no fee to apply and no limit on how often you can use it. According to their website, savings average 65 percent and can be as high as 80 percent. All prescription drugs are eligible, but the amount that you save depends on which pharmacy you visit and the type of medication you need.
Your ScriptSave WellRx can cover the cost of human-equivalent pet medications. It may be able to help you save money on drugs not covered by your health insurance or help you afford your medication if you're not insured.
Pros of ScriptSave WellRx
- accepted at 65,000 pharmacies across the country
- no fees
- average of 65 percent savings
Cons of ScriptSave WellRx
- not all brand name medications included
Medicare Extra Help
For people already receiving Medicare, you may be able to qualify for their Extra Help program, estimated to be worth £5,000 a year. The program helps you pay your monthly premium for Medicare's prescription drug coverage (Part D), yearly deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
People who qualify for the program shouldn't pay more than £3.40 for generic drugs and £8.50 for brand-name drugs.
Pros of Medicare Extra Help
- free to apply
Cons of Medicare Extra Help
- not everybody qualifies
- need to already be receiving Medicare
AARP Prescription Discount Card
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) prescription discount card is available to anybody in the United States. You can use the card on all FDA-approved medications including both brand name and generic brands. The program also covers over-the-counter medications with a doctor's prescription.
If you're already an AARP member, you can get additional savings, as well as home delivery and coverage for your dependents. You can use the card at more than 66,000 pharmacies in the United States.
Pros of AARP
- accepted at more than 66,000 pharmacies
- covers brand name and generic drugs
Cons of AARP
- need to be an AARP member to receive the full benefits
Walmart Rx program
Walmart's Rx Program offers a 30-day supply of some commonly prescribed medications for as low as £4 and £10 for a 90-day supply. The program only includes generic forms of drugs.
According to the FDA, generic drugs are equally as effective as non-generic.
Pros of Walmart
- available for free to everybody
- covers roughly 300 drugs
Cons of Walmart
- a limited number of drugs available and only in commonly prescribed doses
- only sell generic drugs
The Costco Member Prescription Program (CMPP) offers discounts on medications, flu shots, immunizations, and medical treatments. They cover some pet medications that aren't covered by insurance plans. All adults over 18 are eligible, and pets and people under 18 are eligible as dependents.
The CMPP discount card is accepted by thousands of local and online pharmacies and can provide discounts from 2 to 40 percent. Some of the medications their website says they cover include:
Pros of Costco
- covers some pet medications
- covers flu shots and some medical treatments
Cons of Costco
- need a Costco membership to apply
- savings aren't as high as some other cards
A number of non-profit organizations can help you find assistance programs to lower the cost of your medications. Some of these organizations include:
RxAssist helps you find information about programs that offer free or low-cost medications.
They also have a discount card you may be able to use with or without insurance.
NeedyMeds is available to help people of all ages. They have a large database of patient assistance programs and prescription discount programs. They can also help you apply to programs.
RxHope provides you with applications for prescription assistance programs.
You can search their website by medication.
PatientAssistance.com offers coupons on medications and has a large database of patient assistance programs. Many pharmaceutical companies sponsor assistance programs to cover the cost of medications. Often, these programs offer aid to low-income individuals or people with disabilities, but some programs are open for everybody.
Just a few of many examples of drugs covered in payment assistance include: There are many different ways to save money on prescriptions. You may want to consider looking into multiple programs to find the best possible discount.
Many discount programs don't have an enrollment fee, and prices may differ between them. Even if you have insurance, you may want to compare your copay with the price listed in membership programs. Sometimes, these programs can beat the cost of your copay.
Things to consider
Some questions you can ask yourself when trying to choose a program are:
- Do I need prescriptions for just myself, or for my family and pets, too?
- What types of medications do I expect to need?
- Do I have any unique requirements, such as requiring pet medications?
- Do I need help paying for a particular medication, and does the pharmaceutical company offer an assistance program?
- Do I have Medicare Part D, and might I qualify for Extra Help?
It can be difficult paying for prescription drugs, but there are many programs available to help you save money if you know where to look.
SingleCare, America's Pharmacy, and ScriptSave Rx are three of many free discount cards available, and they may be able to help you save up to 80 percent on some medications. If you already have Medicare Part D, you may qualify for Extra Help to cover some of the expenses of your prescription. If you're looking for a discount on a particular medication, you can check to see if the pharmaceutical company that sells it sponsors an assistance program.
Some non-profit organizations may also be able to help you find discounts for particular drugs in their databases.