How to Afford Prescriptions Without Insurance

Prescription Drugs

How to Afford Prescriptions Without Insurance

Jennifer Hadley
By Jennifer Hadley
Sept 28, 2020 - Updated Jun 02, 2021
Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS
Medically Reviewed ByCarina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS
How to Afford Prescriptions Without Insurance

It is estimated that tens of millions of Americans are uninsured, with countless others who are underinsured, or who have insurance plans that lead to high out-of of pocket costs. So, if you’re wondering how to afford prescriptions without insurance, you are not alone.

Fortunately, there are ways to save money on prescriptions if you don’t have insurance, or if your copays are high.

How to Pay for Prescriptions Without Insurance

Studies have shown that you may be able to purchase approximately 25% of prescriptions for less than your insurance copay if you know what to do. From taking advantage of prescription drug coupons to savings programs, generic or alternative medications, or manufacturer coupons, if you do your research, you may find big savings for medications you need.

Save Up to 80% on Your Prescriptions

5 Ways to Save Money on Prescriptions Without Insurance:

RxSaver Prescription Coupons

RxSaver offers prescription drug coupons that are designed to be used without insurance, or in place of your insurance if the coupon price is lower than your copay. RxSaver offers coupons for thousands of prescriptions, which can save you up to 80%.

RxSaver also shows you which pharmacy in your area has the best price on the prescription medicine you need. Simply search for your prescription on the RxSaver website or app, and you’ll immediately see how much your medication will cost at nearby pharmacies.

RxSaver coupons work with pharmacy delivery and drive-thru, too. Simply call the pharmacist to apply the RxSaver coupon codes to your prescription. They will take the coupon information over the phone and can apply the savings at the time of payment. The codes stay on file so you don't need to present a coupon for refills of that medication-- the savings are applied automatically.

Non-Profit Savings Programs

There are a variety of medication assistance programs run by various non-profit organizations, that may be able to help you to afford prescriptions without insurance. These organizations are often sponsored by drug companies, civic groups, or patient advocacy organizations.

These resources offer a variety of helpful tools such as databases of drug company programs that offer free or affordable prescriptions. Others offer searchable databases that allow you to research specific medication to find correlating medication assistance programs. A few savings programs that may help you to save money on prescriptions include:

  • Patient Help Network
  • RxAssist
  • Center for Benefits Access
  • RxHope
  • RxOutreach

Manufacturer Coupons

Coupons issued directly from the manufacturer of a drug may also help lower the cost of specific medications if you don’t have health insurance. Manufacturer coupons frequently have exemptions and restrictions, which you’ll want to research.

For example, you may not be able to use some manufacturer coupons if you have Medicare, or other state or federal health insurance plan. You may also be required to provide medical information to the manufacturer. Other restrictions may include a limit on the number of times you can use them.

Request Generic Medication or Different Medications

Generic medications instead of brand name drugs are frequently cheaper, so the savings can be significant. Request the generic drug from your healthcare provider, to save money on your prescription.

There may also be an alternative to the medication your health care provider prescribes. For example, there are many kinds of blood pressure medications, antibiotics, and pain relievers. So you may save money on prescriptions by inquiring into whether a different medication might be substituted.

Retailer Prescription Savings Programs

You may find savings on prescription medications if you don’t have insurance by taking advantage of retailer prescription savings programs from national retailers.

The Walmart $4 List is a list of low-cost generic medications. There is no membership fee, and you do not need to have insurance to take advantage of it. The prices on the Walmart $4 list range from $4 to $38 which may help make your prescription affordable if you don’t have insurance.

The CVS Pharmacy ExtraCare program provides cash back and discounts, based on accumulated spending. In addition, CVS has developed a proprietary search tool that pharmacists can use to look for savings options for your prescriptions. There is no fee to join the ExtraCare program.

Joining the Kroger Rx Savings Club may also help you find common prescriptions for free, $3, or $6. There is an annual fee of $36 for an individual, or $72 for a family plan (up to 6 individuals).

The Walgreens Prescription Savings Club offers savings on brand name and generic medications along with discounts on most immunizations. There is a $20 annual fee for an individual or a $35 annual fee for all members of your immediate family.

Costco’s Membership Prescription Program offers its members discounts on medications at thousands of network pharmacies. The program is available to all Costco members, as an added benefit, without an additional fee.

However, make sure you always check RxSaver before filling all prescriptions, to find the best savings. For example, RxSaver coupon prices for many common prescriptions beat the Walmart price.

"Unbelievable savings. One script is $120 cheaper than my current insurance!"


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Do you need insurance to get a prescription?

You do not need insurance to purchase prescription medications. If your health care provider writes you a prescription, you can purchase it at the pharmacy irrespective of whether or not you have health insurance.

However, health insurance can offset the cost of prescription medications, depending upon the coverage afforded by your plan.

In some cases, though, even if you do have insurance, the cost of medication may be less, if you use a prescription drug coupon from RxSaver, or if you explore other money-saving options such as requesting generic medications, looking for manufacturer coupons, or signing up for savings programs.

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley

Jen Hadley is a freelance writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, who writes extensively about the medical, legal, health care, and consumer products industries. Jen is a regular contributor to RxSaver.

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS., is a pharmacist who earned her PharmD from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. She maintains an active practice, serving as a Board-Certified Pediatric Pharmacotherapy Specialist at a large metropolitan teaching hospital in New York City. Carina has also published in pharmacy journals and works as a consultant reviewing medical articles for publication.

The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.