Falling ill or having a chronic medical condition can derail your carefully planned budget. Drugs and healthcare have become increasingly more expensive.

With the rising cost of living, many people don’t have savings or an emergency fund. So when they get sick, they may choose not to fill their prescription to get the necessary medication simply because they can’t afford it.

Even folks who have healthcare insurance may not fill their prescription because they cannot afford to pay the deductible or co-payment amount that comes with most medical insurance.

In most cases, people must get their medication and if money stops you, consider these options to fill your prescription at a lower price.

Prescription Discount Cards

A prescription discount card allows you to buy medication at hugely discounted prices. Sometimes, the medicine is discounted by as much as 80%. There are many prescription drug membership programs, like BuzzRX Prescription discounts, and each offers a range of medications at discounted prices at various pharmacies.

Since not all prescription cards cover all drugs, you must shop around to find the ones that cover the medicines you usually take. Also, compare the discounts they offer because each program has a different discount, and make sure that you can fill the prescription at a convenient pharmacy.

Most prescription discount cards are free, and you can get several discount cards if you wish. You’re eligible for a prescription card with or without health insurance.

Compare Prices

When you’re sick, you probably don’t have the energy or inclination to spend time comparing prices – you want to get your meds quickly so that you can rest. Still, the costs of the same medication vary at different pharmacies. So, if you’re looking to save money, it is worth comparing the price.

Instead of visiting every pharmacy in your area, look online to compare prices. Alternatively, you can compare costs by downloading the app SingleCare. Then, enter your zip code and the medication you are looking for. It’ll give you a list of all the pharmacies and stores it is available at and the price at each store.

Buy a Generic

Instead of paying a high price for branded drugs, ask your pharmacist for a generic. Contrary to what many believe, generic medicines are just as safe and effective as their branded counterparts.

Generics are copies of other pharmaceutical companies’ original, name-branded medicines. When a new drug is developed, the pharmaceutical company that created it usually has it patented so that they can make the maximum profit from it. But once that patent expires, other pharmaceuticals are legally allowed to replicate the drug.

Your doctor might have to give you a new prescription for the generic. But you can ask the pharmacist to phone the doctor, who can email the prescription directly to the pharmacist, so you don’t need to go back to collect it.

Buy in Bulk

If the medicine you take is ongoing, buying it in bulk can be much cheaper. Ask your doctor to write you a 90-day prescription rather than a script for a one-month supply.

Whether you fill your prescription in-store at a pharmacy or through mail order, you’ll likely pay less for it if you buy a three-month supply.

Ask for a Trial

If your doctor has recommended a new drug, ask if a free sample is available. Free samples are usually a 10 to 14-day supply that allows you to try the drugs to see if they work for you before you buy them. While this is a short-term saving, it prevents you from spending money on medications that may not help you.

Prescription Assistance Programs (PAPs)

The state, local government, non-profit organizations, and drug manufacturers offer prescription Assistance Programs. These programs are designed to support people who can’t afford the medicines they need.

People who want to join these programs must show that they are in financial difficulty and were denied access to healthcare insurance.

Try a Local, Independent Pharmacy

Most people believe that you’ll get the lowest prices at the large chains and that smaller independent local pharmacies are more expensive, but studies have shown that the opposite is true. Prices can vary substantially between different chains and small independents, so it’s worth shopping around.

You might find that you can get some medication cheap at one store and others are cheaper at a different store. Depending on where the stores are located, it may be worth your while to purchase different drugs from different stores.

Relook Your Healthcare Insurance Plan

There are different types of insurance plans, and the plan you’ve had for years may not be the best one for you now. Every plan has a different deductible and co-pay amount. Each may cover different types of medication.

Suppose you’ve developed a new medical condition, and the drugs you need to treat it are either not covered by your plan or have a high deductible or co-payment. In this instance, looking for an insurance plan that covers your medication and any other treatment you’ll need to help you manage your illness would be a good idea.