Medically Approved

How to talk to loved ones about prescription costs

Prescription costs

Optum Perks Author

By Optum Perks Author

The growing cost of prescription medication affects many people. About 1 in 4 people cannot afford their medications.

As a result, prescriptions go unfilled or are not taken as prescribed. In some cases, pills are rationed or cut in half. In other cases, people put off paying for food, rent and other things just so they can afford their medication.

If you have a family member who has been prescribed medication and you are unsure about their finances, there are ways you can help.

First: ask if they can afford their prescription

The first thing you should do is ask your family member or loved one if they can afford their medication. Be sure to ask in a nice way, as they may not want to talk about money problems. If that is the case, remind them they can talk about medication costs with their doctor.


Yet, people would rather talk to their doctor about the safety or side effects of medication and not the cost. Not wanting to talk about money and finances can lead to hard situations. An example of this is going to the pharmacy for a prescription and not filling it after being told the cost.

Open and non-judgmental discussions about prescription costs  can help the person who may be having a hard time – with family members or with a doctor. Also, getting the issue out in the open means there’s a better chance of fixing the problem.

Family, friends and medical professionals can offer support and information about other medications, insurance plans and formularies, and other cost-saving measures.

Ask about alternative medications

Doctors can prescribe something cheaper that may have the same effect. Encourage your loved one to talk about options with their doctor. This could be a different medication or one with a lower copay.


Getting your loved one to talk to their doctor about other options helps them take an active role in their healthcare.

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Take a closer look at health insurance and coverage

Health insurance plans can have a big impact on the cost of prescription medication. People often choose a plan without knowing what is really covered.


Helping loved ones make the best decision for them can avoid cost issues down the road. For people over 65, enrolling in Medicare Part D offers more coverage for medications. If you do not want to recommend a plan, contact care coordinators or health professionals for help.

Recommend a prescription discount card

Prescription discount cards and coupons offer another way to help with drug costs. searchRx finds the lowest price nearby and can even provide a lower price than the cost of an insurance copayment. The great thing about searchRx is that anyone can use it – whether they have insurance or not.


Sitting down with a loved one to show them the searchRx website or the app can help them take control of their prescription costs.