Regardless of whether your health care plan covers prescription drugs, you can still make informed choices to save money.
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Not everyone has health insurance, and not everyone with health insurance has pharmaceutical coverage, but Washington residents can still purchase the prescription drugs they need through the Washington Prescription Drug Program.
|Free Prescription Drug Program|
Other ways to save money:
Health Insurance/Prescription Drug Coverage: Ways to save
Understand your drug benefit so you will be better able to use it wisely.
Understand your plan’s “drug formulary.”
A drug formulary is a list of drugs which your plan will cover, or pay for, to some extent. Not all drugs on a plan’s formulary are necessarily covered equally. The extent to which different drugs in the same class may be covered under your plan can vary widely. If a drug is not on the formulary whatsoever, that is if it is “off-formulary,” then it is usually not covered at all.
Generally, drugs on a plan’s formulary are placed into one of three, or maybe four, categories or "tiers" by the plan for reimbursement purposes.
In addition to understanding your formulary and its tiers, check to see if there is a mail order pharmacy option available through your plan. Often, mail order pharmacies are less expensive for the plan, and the plan may pass along some of the saving to consumers in the form of lower co-pays to induce use. Some people are comfortable with using mail order pharmacies, especially for chronic use medicines.
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If you are Medicare eligible, consider Medicare Part D. Be sure you understand how it operates in conjunction with any other pharmaceutical coverage you might have.
If you are taking more than one medication, make sure your doctors and your pharmacists know everything you are taking. Medicines can interact with each other and rob you of your medication’s benefits or even hurt you.
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has a toll-free number to help you with questions about health insurance. For more information, call 1-800-562-6900. Their site also offers a lot of consumer health care coverage information, including information for Paying for Prescription Drugs.