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How to Afford Prescription Medications Without Insurance

Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, Pharm.D

On average, each American spends about $1, 310 on pharmaceuticals yearly. Many people without insurance are now forced to choose between filling their prescriptions and paying for necessities like rent and food due to the rising cost of prescription drugs. According to a 2016 study, about 28% of Americans without continuous insurance coverage did not fill at least a prescription or skipped doses because of cost.

If you're one of the 29.6 million uninsured Americans who is having trouble affording your prescriptions, here are some amazing ways to save on your medications. You may find that some of these options are even cheaper than your out-of-pocket insurance copays.

Ways to Save Without Insurance

  • rxless Prescription Discount Cards rxless prescription discount cards offer medication savings for people with or without insurance. Those with insurance often prefer using their discount card because it can often be cheaper than their insurance copays, with savings as high as 88%! The majority of US pharmacies accept our free card, including CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. Please note, patient assistance programs cannot be used in conjunction with rxless discounts. Many times, however, the programs listed on rxless will be less expensive than manufacturer coupons, copay cards, or patient assistance programs – so make sure you compare all options before making a purchase.

  • Generic Medications Brand-name drugs are always more expensive than generic drugs. You can lower the cost of your prescriptions by asking your doctor to prescribe generic versions of your medications.

  • Fill a 90-Day Supply to Save In some cases, filling your prescription for a 90-day supply will give you a lower total cost compared to filling the same prescription multiple times for smaller amounts. Even if the drug and the dosage are the same, you will need a brand-new prescription from your doctor to switch to 90-day fills.

  • Patient Assistance Programs Many programs are available from government organizations, non-profits, and drug manufacturers to assist with the costs of medications. It’s free to sign up for these programs if you meet their requirements for eligibility. The enrollment options are different for each program, but they can usually be completed online, over the phone, or with the help of your doctor’s office. However, you should learn about the terms and conditions of these programs. The organization might need to know your medical history before you can qualify. Also, there may be limitations on how frequently you may qualify for the program.

  • Research Lower-Cost Alternatives There may be other prescriptions that work equally well at treating a condition, but that are available at lower prices. Ask your doctor if there are any lower-cost alternative drugs they can prescribe and if switching to a different drug could affect your treatment.

  • Walmart's $4 prescription program Walmart's $4 prescription program is another option to make your prescription affordable. It allows you to fill your prescription for as low as $4 for a 30-day supply. You don’t need a membership fee or insurance plan to benefit from the program. However, the price starts at $4 so you could pay more depending on your location and medications as only select generic medications are covered. In addition, residents of North Dakota are not eligible. Due to these restrictions, rxless prescription discount cards might be a better option for you as they allow you to get your prescriptions, both branded and generic, without restriction.