How Much Do Asthma Medications Cost? 

So, I came upon a neat toy today: a medication cost estimator on my insurance website that I can use to compare the costs of my asthma medication. Has it been there all along or is it a new thing? I cannot say. But, what I do know is it’s there now, and so I decided to have a little fun with it.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • I live in Michigan. So, these prices are estimates for my specific insurance and my area. I’m not sure if my insurance is the same, better, or worse than other insurances in the U.S. or other countries. If you are looking for the costs of asthma medications under your plan, I'd recommend talking to your insurance to get your drug formulary.
  • “Our insurance stinks!” We often chime. But, I’m not sure if this is a fair statement or not. I only have my insurance. I am no expert on health insurance. So, I will not get into whether my insurance is good or not.
  • I also don’t want to get into why medication costs so much. Nor do I want to tell you what I think on the subject. These discussions can be reserved for another day.
  • I am also not telling you what my insurance is called. I will keep that anonymous. Since the link is private, I cannot send you a link either. Sorry, that’s just how it is.

How's that for a long list of disclaimers?

Still, I figured it would be neat to play with this price estimator.

What do my asthma medications cost?

These are the medications I currently have prescriptions for.

Asthma medication costs

MedicationCopay (the price I pay)Actual Cost Estimated
Proair inhaler$15.00$64.00
Albuterol Solution$2.15 per ampule$2.15 per ampule
Albuterol solution*
1 month supply (assuming 4 times daily)
$15.00$198
Generic Singulair
10 mg daily and 30 day supply
$19.90$19.90
Symbicort$50.00$339.70

* Albuterol solution I only use as needed. Usually, one prescription refill lasts me and my family a complete year.

These are other options available to me. If a medication has a generic version, my insurance automatically defaults to the generic version.

What are the costs of alternative asthma medications?

MedicationCopayActual
Ventolin Inhaler$50.00$54.64
AdvairNot covered
DuleraNot covered
BreoNot covered
Xolair
75 mg/0.05 ml
$100$507.62
NucalaNot covered
CinqairNot covered
Singulair
10 mg daily 30 day supply
$223.75$223.75

Some exceptions to my costs

I actually am able to get the medications that are not covered. However, I would have to have a letter from my doctor. Plus I’d have to pay a higher copay. For instance, for Advair that copay is $100 per inhaler. In the letter, my doctor would have to explain that I tried Symbicort for at least 1 month, which I have. But, after a year of doing this, I caved and decided to go with Symbicort even though I’d prefer Advair.

In order to try Nucala and Cinqair, I would also have to have tried Xolair for at least a month. I have not tried any biologic. My doctor did decide I can try Xolair if I want. But, my current regimen seems to be working just fine.

What to make of this?

Be it as it is, asthma medications are expensive. Back in the day, breathing treatments were way cheaper than inhalers. Today that is the opposite. If I wanted to be cheap, I could just use my albuterol solution. And sometimes this is exactly what I do. This is especially true now that I have a mesh nebulizer. It fits snug in my pocket.

Oh, and the Proair is new. I switched to Proair mainly after finding this price estimator. That was the first benefit of this new toy!

How do these prices compare to yours?

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