I don't have health insurance to cover my prescriptions. How can I afford my medication?

Written by Gabriel Levitt, MA | Posted December 03, 2018 | Updated November 26, 2019

If you don’t have health insurance in the United States—and even if you do—you may be faced with surprisingly high medical and prescription drug costs. Many people are struggling with budgeting their lives around the rising prices of their prescription medications.

One out of five uninsured adults in 2016 went without needed medical care due to cost. Forty-five million Americans did not fill prescriptions in 2016 because of expensive medication price tags, meaning that even insured Americans are skipping or rationing their drugs. Specialty drugs frequently cost $100,000+ per year, and even common necessities, such as inhalers and blood pressure medications, have become unaffordable without insurance.

PharmacyChecker can help.

What to do to Afford Your Prescription Medications

Some practical savings strategies you can use to afford prescription drugs if you do not have insurance include comparing prices at your local pharmacies for low-priced generics; using prescription discount cards that you can print out online; applying for patient assistance; and comparing drug prices internationally among online pharmacies verified for safety through the PharmacyChecker Verification Program.

SPEAK TO YOUR PROVIDER Ask for a generic alternative to your medication if you haven’t done so already. A generic medicine works in the same way and provides the same clinical benefit as its brand-name version. This standard applies to all FDA-approved generic medicines. Generic medications are usually much more affordable than brand medications without insurance.
DRUG SAMPLES Drug samples are not a long-term solution but asking your healthcare provider for samples of medication may hold you over for a short period of time before you find a real solution. Your healthcare provider may also be able to order a few samples.
DISCOUNT CARDS & COUPONS Generic drugs can be even cheaper at local U.S. pharmacies with discount cards. When comparing prices on PharmacyChecker, just scroll all the way to the bottom of your medication price comparison page and enter your ZIP Code to find the discounts available in your area. When you choose a pharmacy, click "Print Card for This Pharmacy." Bring the discount card along with your prescription to the pharmacy indicated to receive your discount.
PATIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS   Prescription assistance may available to you by utilizing Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) from pharmaceutical companies that provide free or discounted medicines to individuals living in the United States who cannot afford them. Each program has its own qualifying criteria. You can learn more at PharmacyChecker Patient Assistance Programs.
CHECK VERIFIED INTERNAIONAL ONLINE PHARMACIES Here is how you can most safely order a medication from an international online pharmacy. Enter the name of the drug you are looking for (e.g. Lipitor) into the search bar in the top, righthand corner of this web page. Then click the magnifying glass to compare prices among pharmacies that have been properly vetted through the PharmacyChecker Verification Program. PharmacyChecker’s main mission is to identify safe online pharmacies with more affordable prices so you can avoid dangerous websites.
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