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  • Michelle Varela

How to Find Discounts on Prescriptions for Seniors

Older adults spend on average over $600 a year on prescription drugs.

Between 2014 and 2020, prescription drug prices rose faster than other healthcare costs. During that period, drug pricing rose 33%, yet other healthcare costs rose between 19%-30%. These high prices lead many seniors to face the possibility of paying large sums out-of-pocket for their medications, even when they are insured.

More than half of adults age 65 and older report taking four or more prescription drugs.

This often puts significant financial pressure on seniors because the cost of prescription drugs have been increasing steadily over the years,

In fact, the prices of the 20 most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs for seniors rose nearly 10 times more than the annual rate of inflation over five years.

The following is a list of possible ways to help save on prescription costs

Government Help


Medicare is a federal health insurance program for persons age 65 and older that is composed of multiple parts: Prescription drugs are covered by Medicare Part D. Part D plans are sold by private insurance companies either as a standalone plan known as a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (or PDPs) or as part of a Medicare Advantage Plan (or MAPDs), which groups Parts A, B and D coverage into a single plan.

Medicare Extra Help

If you or a loved one has Medicare, the first benefit to consider is Part D Extra Help. This program from Social Security and Medicare helps save money on Part D drug plan premiums and co-payments at the pharmacy. To get Extra Help, you must have low income and resources.

Extra Help is a program that provides additional financial assistance to seniors with limited income and assets to help them pay for prescription drug costs. Seniors are eligible if their total assets (not including their primary residence, vehicle, and other personal items) are valued at less than $15,510 for individuals or $30,950 for married couples. The 2022 income limit is $20,385 for a single applicant and $27,465 for a married couple.


Medicaid is a state-run health insurance program for low income and disabled individuals. The definition of “low income” changes by state and constituent group (meaning seniors, pregnant women, and healthy adults all have different eligibility criteria). In most states in 2022, an elderly individual must have a monthly income of less than $2,523, and assets, not including their home, valued at less than $2,000.

State Based Programs

In addition to the federal Extra Help program, many state governments provide seniors with financial assistance to help with the cost of medications. These programs provide assistance as Medicare Wraparound Programs. This means they help seniors pay the extra costs that their Medicare Part D plans don’t cover. Alternatively, they provide assistance making Medicare Part D premium payments instead of paying for the extra prescriptions costs.

Unfortunately, not every state offers assistance.

Click HERE to find programs offered in your state.

State Prescription Assistance Program

Don’t qualify for Extra Help? Your state may also have savings programs. Currently, 20 states offer a State Prescription Assistance Program (SPAP) to people who meet certain age, disability, chronic condition, and/or income requirements. SPAPs may help pay your premiums, deductibles, or medication co-payments.

Discount Cards

Due to the limits of both government and manufacturer-sponsored programs, many seniors are now turning to prescription discount cards that are offered by third parties such as Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) or tech startups. These discount programs can sometimes reduce a medication’s cash price to the point that it’s cheaper than the copay you’d be charged through insurance, and offer significant savings for the uninsured. They also usually offer tools that help seniors compare prices at various pharmacies, finding them the most budget-friendly options.

America’s Pharmacy partner with 59,000 pharmacies across the country. The company’s easy-to-use app and medication search tool minimize the learning curve for older adults and their caregivers, even if they aren’t tech-savvy. Users can choose to have their discount card mailed, texted, or emailed to them. Participants can save up to 80 percent on medications, with average savings of around 66 percent. Better yet, the card has no limit on the number of uses, and a whole household can use the same card. Finding the best discounts on your prescription medications is simple with America’s Pharmacy app. Their app is user-friendly and intuitive. You can even “Favorite” prescriptions and pharmacies in the app, which helps you save time and money when your prescriptions are due for a refill.

WellRx provides a great alternative to insurance for those who rely on monthly medications or just a sporadic prescription for an acute medical condition. All you need to do is bring your prescription savings card to the pharmacy, and you will receive an immediate discount on the total cost of your drugs. On average, savings are around 65 percent, sometimes reaching 80 percent or more on the most widely used medications, and even higher discounts may be available for generic substitutes. Because WellRx is accepted at more than 65,000 pharmacies nationwide, you’ll likely find a nearby pharmacy that accepts it. They also offer a price comparison tool that simplifies your search for the lowest prices available on prescription medications.

Choice Drug Card allows older adults to save up to 85 percent on their prescription drugs without the hassle of signing up or submitting any personal information. Choice Drug Card is perfect for those who don’t want to use a mobile app or caregivers who would like to access a discount card for their spouse or adult parent, since no personal information is required. With options to receive a card by text, email, fax, PDF download, or snail mail, older adults can easily access a discount card and instantly start saving on prescription drugs at over 70,000

Singlecare includes a well-rated app, a simple search tool for finding drug cost information, a convenient home delivery program, and a loyalty program that just can’t be found elsewhere. SingleCare’s discounts are offered at over 35,000+ pharmacies for more than 10,000 medications. It will be particularly easy to use SingleCare discounts at pharmacy chains such as Albertsons/Safeway, Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Kroger, and Rite-Aid, as well as at many independent pharmacies.

GoodRx has an impressive variety of programs to choose from, a highly-rated app, and medication prices that are some of the very lowest available. This company’s specialty programs are particularly good for cost savings, with some offering discounts of up to 90% off retail price.

GoodRx has the more program options than most other programs.

Drug Manufacturer Discounts

Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs)

Patient Assistance Programs are run by drug manufacturers to offer free or discounted brand-name medications to consumers. PAPs may be especially helpful to those who lack insurance coverage or have significant medication costs.

Most of the major manufacturers offer PAPs and related resources for people who take their medications. For example, Pfizer’s RxPathways program connects people to insurance support, co-pay assistance, and medicines for free or at a savings. Other PAPs are offered by Novo Nordisk, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and several foundations that provide disease-specific assistance, such as for people with diabetes. (Note: Some of these programs may have limitations for people with other Medicare drug coverage.)

Charitable Help

If you have Medicare Part D coverage but still have trouble paying for your prescriptions, there are charities that may be able to help. Some of these programs may also help pay for drugs Part B covers, such as oral anti-cancer drugs.

Check out for a comprehensive list of all the programs that can offer help.


Many pharmaceutical companies make discount coupons available online for their brand name drugs. Often these coupons will discount the cost of a brand name drug so that it equals the cost of the generic version. Search this site to easily find coupons or identify the cheapest location to purchase your prescription.

Some pharmaceutical companies offer programs to help pay for medications for people enrolled in Medicare drug coverage (Part D).

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