You're ready to quit opiates, and you know medication-assisted treatment is right for you. But how can you afford the Suboxone prescription?
Whether you are uninsured, underinsured, or insured, paying for the medication part of medication-assisted treatment (like Suboxone) can be a daunting task. At Workit, making quality addiction care more affordable for everyone is a central part of our mission, and we’re always here to advocate for you to get the healthcare you deserve.
When you join Workit Clinic, our medically-assisted treatment partnership, you have a personal care team of experts willing and able to help you navigate any and all financial hurdles that pop up.
But there are also some simple steps that anyone and everyone can take to make all prescriptions, and specifically Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone), more affordable.
1. Know the ins and outs of your insurance coverage (if you have it).
Insurance plans are confusing (no matter which of the 50 million out there you have), and untangling all those acronyms and percentages is not a riveting activity, to put it mildly. However, it’s well worth the effort. Getting in the know about your insurance empowers you to make the most financially sound healthcare choices possible, ensuring you can make smart financial choices for your addiction treatment, medication choices, and other medical options. Where to start? With your Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) which legally must be provided to you by your insurer, and be in plain, easy-to-understand words.
Workit Wisdom: Plan a question blitz! You’ve got questions, you need answers! Write a list of every possible question you might have around your plan, from the basic (How much does my copay to a primary care doctor cost?) to the complicated and even hypothetical (If I need to change my prescription mid-month, how much will that be?). When you’re done, rank in order of priority. Schedule a chunk of time (at least an hour) to take a crack at calling the number on the back of your insurance card, and ask all the questions on your list. Take copious notes and repeat back answers for confirmation until you are 99% you are clear on the answer. Demand answers! Be relentless. The stakes are high.
2. Don't have insurance? Use a free drug card!
Who? Anyone without insurance prescription drug coverage or who pay full retail price even with insurance coverage (such as during Medicare donut holes, under High Deductible Health Plans)
How? Simply download the card at www.freedrugcard.us and use like a coupon by showing it to your pharmacist when purchasing your medication. This card has no restrictions on any medications.
Where? Most major chain pharmacies; check yours with their pharmacy locator
Benefits? 15-20% on brand drugs and 40-75% on generic drugs
Workit Wisdom: If the card doesn’t process correctly the first time around, have your pharmacist call the pharmacist help desk number on the card.
3. Research drug prices.
Getting a solid grounding on what to expect price-wise for your prescriptions puts you in a better position to budget for them, and to negotiate with your pharmacy in some cases. Some pharmacies will give you a general idea over the phone. There are also a number of excellent online tools for estimates and comparisons, such as Easy Drug Card Price Checker, Good Rx, and official state resources such as MichiganDrugPrices.com
Workit Wisdom: Make GoodRX your price matching bargaining chip!
4. Mentally prepare yourself for some sticker shock.
Remember that addiction is a sneaky little monster that is always looking for excuses to drag you away from recovery and back into its killer jaws. While affordability is a very valid concern, it is nothing that you can’t conquer! You’ve already found the will, and together we’ll help you find a way. You deserve this.
Workit Wisdom: Knowledge is power! Getting a solid grounding on what to expect price-wise puts you in a better position to plan to be able to afford it, and to negotiate with your pharmacy in some cases. It can also be an emotional safeguard against sticker shock! If your medication seems pricier than you expected, remember this: where there is a will, there is a way, and you deserve to get the best treatment possible. Also we are here to help you afford it in any way that we can! You got this, and we’re here to help.
5. Keep the price in perspective.
Many of us here at Workit who have gone through medication-assisted treatment ourselves found it helpful to remember to view the price of the medications in contrast to the price of our addictions, which were quite costly both financially and in a ton of other ways.
Workit Wisdom: Do a comparison - how much you spent on street drugs, to how much you're spending on Suboxone and treatment. You might be surprised at your savings. Take our quiz to find out how much your opiate addiction costs.
6. Keep it legal. You deserve it.
It can be tempting to get it on the streets, but there are so so many hidden costs and cons to that! First off, it’s risky because you don’t know what’s in it, and you’re no longer under a doctor’s supervision. Second, it can expose you to triggers (people, places, things) that make it a lot harder to stay in recovery. Finally, many people find it creates a burden of shame and hiding because of the whole illegal part. The bottom line: invest in yourself, it will repay you for the rest of your life. Quite frankly, you deserve it.
Workit Wisdom: When you're trying to get clean, ditch your dealer! Entirely.
Have you mastered any brilliant savings tips that we're missing? Let us know! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add them in. In the meantime, save on!
Workit Clinic provides medication-assisted treatment in Michigan & California
Cassandra McIntosh is the Head of Content at Workit Health. She brings a unique mix of expertise drawn from her background in counseling psychology, socio-organizational psychology and consumer insights.