(CBS) — It’s a horrible choice for anybody to have to make, and half of Americans are doing it: skipping their prescription drugs because the co-pays are just too high.
As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, there are ways for everybody to save money on medicine.
Phillip Lambert needs his insulin. But when his monthly cost hit $1,800, he considered skipping it.
“I thought it was ridiculous, and especially for something as common as diabetes,” he says.
Bill Young’s co-pay with private insurance was running into the hundreds for kidney anti-rejection drugs.
“This is medication I need to live,” he says.
Both men went looking for help. Lambert found a federal program called 340B. Instead of $1,800, he now pays $34.
Young found a discount card on the drug manufacturer’s website, and his cost dropped from $875 to $15.
“I was ecstatic,” he says.
Even the pharmacy where you pick up your prescriptions can save you money.
You can save an extra $10 to $30 using Walgreens’ Prescription Savings Club. Other stores have similar programs.
Many also offer common generic medications for less than $5. Some are even free.
The discounts are needed because according to a Kaiser report co-pays are skyrocketing forcing 41 percent of people to skip filling some prescriptions.
Marlowe Djuric Kachlic of the University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy says that since the Affordable Care Act, insurers offer more health plans with lower premiums, but higher deductibles.
“The good thing is there’s been a lot more help for patients,” she says.
Apps like Good RX can point you to discounts.
Janet Irvine got a card from her doctor, which took her $60 co-pay down to $25.
“Get your physician to see if they can help you out with making the cost of getting better a little less,” Irvine says.