8 smart moves to save on health care

Ask for alternative medications

You already know that generic medications are much cheaper than their brand-name drugs.

Programs at stores such as Target and Walmart charge just $4 for a month’s supply of generic meds. PlanPrescriber.com found that switching to the generic equivalents of Prilosec and Zocor could save up to $4,500 per year.

But it’s still possible to spend less on prescription medications, even if generics aren’t available.

Vincent Hartzell, a spokesperson for the American Pharmacists Association, suggests asking doctors or pharmacists about purchasing medications in higher doses and splitting the pills.

The reason: A tablet that is twice as strong might not cost twice as much.

“Pricing isn’t done per milligram; it’s based on the cost of manufacturing the tablet,” he explains. “So it can be cheaper to purchase a higher dose and split the pills.”

Blood pressure pills, antidepressants and ACE inhibitors are among the most common medications for splitting.

Warning: Not all medications can be split safely, especially if the drug is time-released, so it’s essential to get the approval of your pharmacist before splitting pills.