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Save money on your prescriptions

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Prescription bottles sit on the shelf at U-Save It pharmacy in Albany.  Prescription costs have risen by an average of 11 per cent per year from 1996 to 2008. Prescription bottles sit on the shelf at U-Save It pharmacy in Albany. Prescription costs have risen by an average of 11 per cent per year from 1996 to 2008.
Medical instruments at the South Albany Medical Center in Albany.  Patients who go here to get their medical care are eligible for a discount card for their prescriptions. Medical instruments at the South Albany Medical Center in Albany. Patients who go here to get their medical care are eligible for a discount card for their prescriptions.
An old apothecary at the U-Save It pharmacy in Albany.  U-Save It is one of the pharmacies that takes the discount prescription cards. An old apothecary at the U-Save It pharmacy in Albany. U-Save It is one of the pharmacies that takes the discount prescription cards.
The eye chart at the South Albany Medical Center in Albany.   Clinics like this one can offer most services in one location. The eye chart at the South Albany Medical Center in Albany. Clinics like this one can offer most services in one location.
Pharmacist Kemberley Floyd checks on a prescription for a customer. Pharmacist Kemberley Floyd checks on a prescription for a customer.

As the American population ages, the cost of healthcare has skyrocketed.

The cost of prescription drugs rose by an average of 11 per cent per year between 1996 and 2008.

Kemberley Floyd has been a pharmacist for about five years.  She's noticed the trend as well.

She said, "they have probably more than doubled, if not tripled."

And for people whose health depend on monthly medications, tough decisions must be made.

Dr. Jaza Marina Brown from the South Albany Medical Center said, "oftentimes people have to make quick decisions...is it going to be my mortgage, my rent or the medication for my diabetes."

People like Sonia Coxwell.

"There's medication that I take for migraine headaches," she said.

That medicine is not cheap.

"For like nine tablets is a little over $200," she said.

Even though she has insurance, it didn't cover the entire cost. And all over Georgia there are thousands of people who don't even have insurance, especially in rural areas.

But while the costs of prescriptions can cause financial hardship, there are ways that you can save the next time that you come to the pharmacy.

Coxwell's solution was to sign up for what's known as the 340-B drug program.  It's available to anyone who goes to a community health care clinic.  And it's taken a bite out of those high drug bills.

"With my medication it cuts it in half," she said.

It's one of several programs that can help to save some money on prescriptions.  Another one is known as the Georgia Drug Card. Like the 340-B program everyone is eligible, regardless of insurance coverage or income.

Floyd has noticed that both programs have a definite effect on her patients. Where they used to skip a dose now and then: "now we have a patient that can walk in the door with a 30 day supply, get all 30 tablets, take them on a daily basis," she said.

Making sure that patients follow their doctor's orders when it comes to their medicines is the best way to make sure that they truly get healed from what ails them. And if they do that, then there will be a brighter future for them and their loved ones.

If you want to sign up for the Georgia Drug Card, you can go to their web site.

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