Medically Approved

How to save money on statins

Older woman speaking with pharmacist

If you’re taking statins every day, you want to make sure you’re getting the best possible price. We have 7 ways to save.

Emily Shiffer

By Emily Shiffer

If you have a statin prescription, you’re in good company. Globally, more than 200 million people take these medications, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. And they’re very good at keeping your blood flowing.

“Statins are a group of medications that work to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol, or LDL, in the blood,” says Alyssa Wozniak, PharmD. She’s a clinical instructor at D’Youville School of Pharmacy in Buffalo, New York. 

The good news is that statins are often less expensive than other prescription medications you may be taking. “Statins are no longer as expensive since many of them are available in generic formulations,” says Mohamed A. Jalloh, PharmD. He’s an assistant professor at Touro University California College of Pharmacy.

Still, if you’re a long-term user, even a small savings can add up over time. And the Optum Perks mobile app can help. It lets you search for prescription discount coupons that work at pharmacies in your area.

Alternately, you can click the link of any statin below to access a coupon directly.

For more money-saving strategies, keep reading.

Upgrade from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply

Buying in bulk is a quick way to reduce costs, and most insurance companies will cover 90-day fills of prescriptions, says Jalloh. 

“Patients can reach out to their pharmacists or insurance plan to get an idea of how much they could save,” he says. “Also, patients can inquire about direct home delivery. Mail-order pharmacies are appealing since they take out the hassle of driving to the pharmacy.” That could save you time, parking stress and gas money.

Ask your doctor to prescribe a statin that your insurance covers

It may seem like a no-brainer, but if your statin isn’t covered by your insurer, you should see about fixing that.

Similarly, your insurer might use tiers to establish how much it will pay for each medication. Switching to lower-tier medication — going from Tier 2 to Tier 1, for instance — usually lets you pay less out of pocket.

According to Wozniak, you can obtain a list of covered medications, called a drug formulary, by contacting your insurance company. You might also find it on the insurer’s website.

Ask your doctor to prescribe the generic version of your statin

“At this time, most of the statin medications have generic availability,” says Wozniak. She cites atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin as examples.

A notable exception is pitavastatin, which is sold under the brand names Livalo® and Zypitamag®. Because it has no generic option, this medication will generally cost more. It will also likely carry a higher copay when you use your insurance.

Consider switching from pitavastatin to a medication that comes in a generic form if you can.

Ask your pharmacist to compare how much you’d pay without insurance

Your insurance works on pre-negotiated prices. Sometimes that could end up being more than you’d pay without using insurance. “In some cases, the [cash price] could be lower than the copay,” says Wozniak.

Paying in cash also allows you to use pharmacy discount cards, such as Optum Perks.

One thing to note: If you pay for medication in cash, it won’t count toward your insurance deductible, says Wozniak. So you might want to do the math to see if it’s worth it.

Recommended reading: What’s left in my deductible (and other common insurance questions).

Split higher-dose pills in half

Wozniak notes that different strengths of the same medication often have the same cost. That means you might be able to buy 40 mg pills for the same price you pay for 20 mg pills. Then you just split them in half.

Before you do this, however, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your plan. Not all pills can be split safely. “Splitting medications that must be kept whole can change the efficacy or safety of the medication,” says Wozniak.

Once you get the green light, it’s important to make sure you have the right tools to ensure consistency. Rather than use a kitchen knife, use a dedicated splitting device to ensure a uniform dose each time (and to avoid cutting yourself).

The Optum Perks App displayed on a mobile phone
Get access to thousands of prescription coupons instantly.

“These devices can range in cost depending on the device features, but simple versions are often attainable for a few dollars,” says Wozniak.

Understand your Medicare options

If you’re on Medicare, you may have additional cost-saving benefits when it comes to filling your statin prescription.

“For example, New York state offers the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program to assist seniors with Medicare Part D,” says Wozniak. This works as a supplement to your drug plan.

Use Optum Perks

If it isn’t clear already, Optum Perks is dedicated to helping you save money on medication. Our pre-negotiated discounts work as an alternative to traditional insurance, and they can save you up to 80% on your medication. Click here to see how Optum Perks works.

However you decide to save, it’s critical that your strategy works for your budget. Statins are important medications that can extend your life and keep you out of the hospital. You should never let the price prevent you from taking them.

 

Additional source
Statin overview: Johns Hopkins Medicine