Food or Prescriptions? A Choice No One Should Have to Make

Cropped SingleCare logo By | October 15, 2015

The cost of prescription drugs has risen to unprecedented heights, and many Americans have been forced to cut their budgets to afford medication. And sometimes, that means cutting back on groceries.

The Affordable Care Act has increased the accessibility and affordability of healthcare for many Americans, but some are still finding the costs of healthy living to be too high. If you’ve recently gone to fill a prescription and were surprised by an out-of-pocket price increase, you’re not alone. Seemingly overnight, the New York Times writes, the cost of prescription drugs has risen astronomically — for the insured and uninsured alike.

A Tough Pill to Swallow

Americans are now spending an average of $100 more per pill than they were this time last year. Many are also finding that having health insurance isn’t much help. The recent price increase has affected both branded and generic drugs, and impacts nearly every citizen who requires prescription medicine.

It’s not uncommon to see high prices for new drugs designed to fight serious diseases, but price increases for older, generic drugs have doctors and patients concerned and confused. According to CNBC, prices have increased the most for drugs that combat common conditions like asthma and high blood pressure.

The price of one drug, Daraprim, a drug that has been on the market for 60 years, used for treating serious infections, rose overnight from $13.50 to $750 per tablet.

Your Health or Your Wallet?

Americans have reacted to these price increases by adjusting their budgets, sometimes at the expense of their health and happiness. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that most residents have been forced to cut back on casual entertainment like going to the movies or eating out.

Others are now asking their doctor for generic refills, instead of brand names, and are skipping dosages to make their prescriptions last longer. Some are even taking expired medicine to delay refilling their prescription.

To compensate further for higher pill prices, nearly 32% report cutting back on their grocery bill to help pay for rising prescription costs. It’s an unfortunate irony that, as many try to cover the rising costs of medication, their health may suffer in other ways as they cut back on the quality or quantity of the food they buy.

The Kaiser Family Foundation survey also identified the two issues people think are most important for the president and Congress to resolve: affordability of drugs to treat serious diseases and the cost of prescription drugs in general. These are hot button political issues in the run up to next year’s presidential elections, but many citizens can’t afford to wait more than a year for reform that may or may not come to pass.

Lower Prices, Better Health

Those with health insurance are feeling the strain from high prices, but those without health insurance may be drowning in costs. However, there are options that don’t involve skipping doses or cutting down on your grocery bill.

With a SingleCare prescription discount card, you can receive 30-70% discounts on drug prescriptions. In some cases, members pay even less than someone who’s insured. And because SingleCare works with a large network of participating pharmacies, you’ll never have to go far to find the right price for your budget. SingleCare is not an insurance agency, meaning extortionately high premiums and copays are a thing of the past.

Medicine is expensive everywhere, but no one should have to choose between filling their fridge or their medicine cabinet.

(Main image credit: I-5 Design & Manufacture/flickr)