29 | FIND A CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE... If there is no generic version of a brand-name drug you're taking, ask your doctor about a therapeutic substitute or an older drug in the same category. A drug that has been on the market for more than 10 years will almost always have a generic version available.
30 | ...OR BUY ONLINE You may find the best deal of all at an online drugstore, particularly if you order more than one prescription at a time. Recently, for example, you could order a 90-day supply of Lipitor, a popular cholesterol-lowering drug, for $306, or as much as 30% off typical retail prices, at drugstore.com. To make sure a site is legit, check to see that it carries the seal of the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS), a quality-control program sponsored by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (nabp.net).
31 | SIGN UP FOR MEDICARE PART D Open enrollment for the government's drug plan for seniors runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31. If you're 65 or older and don't currently have drug coverage, sign up as soon as you can. Average savings on drug costs: 28%. If you delay and need coverage in the future, you'll get hit with a permanent penalty of 1% of your premium for every month you were eligible and didn't enroll. If you're in good health now, simply choose the lowest-cost plan in your area; you should be able to find one with premiums of less than $10 a month. Already enrolled? Now is your opportunity to switch to a different plan if you're not satisfied with the one you have. Compare plans in your area at medicare.gov.
32 | GO FOR THE DISCOUNT No drug coverage? Visit the Partnership for Prescription Assistance website (pparx.org), which has links to more than 400 patient-assistance programs offering discounts on more than 2,500 medications. Most programs require you to demonstrate financial need. But some, such as Merck's discount card, are open to all income levels.