Have Medicare, but no drug coverage? Learn how you can still save on your prescriptions.
Save money on prescriptions, even without Part D drug coverage.
Out of the 60 million Americans who received their health coverage from Medicare in 2018, only 43 million had prescription drug coverage under a Medicare Part D plan. For the 65-and-older Medicare population, paying out-of-pocket for prescriptions can lead to significant financial strain. Luckily, there are things you can do to reign in drug spending, even without a Medicare drug coverage plan.
Why don’t some seniors have drug coverage?
If you are receiving Social Security benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare — but only Parts A and B. While Part B often covers specialty medications administered during a doctor visit or by a professional, neither covers regular prescription drugs you pick up at the pharmacy and take yourself. If you choose to, you can get drug coverage through Medicare as part of a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, or by adding a standalone Part D plan to your coverage.
While many seniors do enroll in Part D, some don’t. They might forego coverage due to the complexities of signing up, or because they can’t afford the monthly payments, which average about $32 a month. While there is a Low-Income Subsidy (aka “Extra Help”) program to help qualified enrollees afford these payments, research shows that many who are eligible have not enrolled — also possibly due to the complexities of the application. For those who cannot afford these monthly payments, paying pharmacy cash prices out of pocket may be nearly impossible.
That stress and financial strain is compounded by the fact that, based on data from 2011–2014, 40% of adults 65 or older took five or more prescription drugs within 30 days of the survey. The need for prescription drugs among this population is high, exposing them to great financial risk in trying to pay for medications.
How can you save money on prescriptions, even without drug coverage?
- Ask your doctor about cheaper prescriptions. About 17% of seniors already do this. Join them and you could save money by switching to a generic version.
- Use Blink Health. Search for your prescription on the Blink Health website or on the Blink Android or iOS app. If the Blink price is cheaper than what you pay at the pharmacy, pay the Blink price instead — no prescription drug plan needed. You can pick your prescriptions up at a local in-network pharmacy, or have them delivered to your home for free. Please note, however, that if you have prescription drug coverage, your purchases at Blink will not count toward any out-of-pocket costs you must spend before your coverage kicks in.
How much money could I save?
Let’s take a look at three fictional people without Medicare prescription drug coverage — all over the age of 65, and all of whom take at least one prescription drug regularly. Here’s a peek at how much they could pay out of pocket at the pharmacy, and how much they could pay with Blink.
Curious how much you could save? Search for your medications now to find out.
*Retail Prices (Cash Prices) vary among pharmacies. The Retail Prices displayed are estimates based on multiple sources, including price lists, historical claims and data provided by pharmacies. This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
Blink Health is not insurance. Blink Health Administration, LLC, 233 Spring Street, 8th Floor East, New York, NY 10013, (844) 366–2211, www.blinkhealth.com. See website for state-by-state availability.