Would you buy groceries without knowing their prices? I suspect not. You probably compare costs of different boxes of cereal in order to get best deal. But when it comes to medical care, do you even ask for prices involved?
While it's true that good health is priceless, and cutting corners on health care is risky, there is still much you can do in order to obtain same good value in medical care that you insist upon in other areas of your life.
If you lack a prescription plan that pays for your medications, it's high time you discussed cost of drugs with your doctor. Your doctor's number-one choice in medication for your medical condition might be expensive. There are usually reasonable alternatives that cost less. You should take advantage of your doctor's expertise in estimating trade-offs involved with each of your options.
Apart from prices, your doctor is already balancing a number of important factors in making a drug recommendation. First, of course, drug needs to be medically effective—otherwise, why bother? The doctor also takes into consideration what other medications you are taking, what other illnesses you have, your age, your gender, drug's side-effect spectrum, and also its convenience aspects, like how many times per day it has to be taken and whether or not blood-tests are required to monitor it. A drug that might score high on effectiveness and side-effects might still be inconvenient. An alterative might be both convenient and effective, but pose a higher risk of side-effects.
So truth of matter is that your doctor is already sorting through all sorts of trade-offs in choosing a medication to prescribe. Factoring in prices of alternative drugs just builds on comparing-apples-to-oranges process you are paying your doctor to do for you in first place. But if doctor doesn't know that you lack a prescription plan, he or she might not include cost of drugs in these reckonings and you might be stuck with a prescription that wrecks your budget.
The next step in obtaining maximum value for your investment in medication is to shop it around. Let your fingers do walking by phoning several pharmacies for a price-check. I even write out a script for my shy patients who get nervous when they talk to medical personnel. It goes something like this: "Hi, I'd like to do a price-check on my prescription medication. How much would it cost to buy thirty furosemide 20 milligram (or whatever) pills? Thank you very much. Have a great day!"