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Health dollars & sense: shop around, drug assistance programs

Want to cut medical expenses without compromising your health? Try the following money-saving tips to help keep your medical costs in check.

You better shop around

You search for the best deals on car repairs and home appliances, so why not shop for the best prescription prices? Discount chains like Costco and Sam’s Club offer deals on prescriptions. And the Internet has made comparison shopping easier than it used to be. You can check online sites like, and, but keep in mind that services like home delivery, patient medicine profiles (a record of your medication use) and pharmacist consultations may not be available from every source. And don’t forget to check your insurance plan—it may include options for online or mail-order pharmacies. Wherever you shop, ask whether a senior citizen discount is available.

Drug assistance programs

Don’t fall victim to spam e-mail that charges you a fee in exchange for information on free or low-cost prescription drugs. You don’t have to pay for help finding low-cost prescription programs—your healthcare provider or pharmacist can point you in the right direction for free. A Web site that can help is, sponsored by a group of organizations serving Medicare beneficiaries. To find drug assistance programs you may be eligible for, click on BenefitsCheckUpRx. You’ll need to answer a few questions to see whether you qualify for public programs such as state pharmacy assistance programs and private programs such as company patient assistance programs.