The cost of asthma inhalers without insurance can be a major expense for individuals and families, especially those with chronic asthma. In 2023, the total cost of an asthma inhaler will depend on the type of inhaler prescribed by your doctor and whether you are using a branded or generic drug.
Brand-name inhalers can vary from around $150 to more than $300, and generic drugs typically cost less. The out-of-pocket cost for these inhalers can make it difficult for some individuals to get the medication they need to manage their asthma symptoms.
Keep reading to find out more about the cost of asthma inhalers when you don’t have insurance.
Common Inhalers & Their Cost Without Insurance
Below are some of the most common inhalers and their estimated cost without insurance in 2023:
- Advair Diskus (Fluticasone/Salmeterol): $420 to $470
- Flovent HFA (Fluticasone Propionate): $240 to $260
- Singulair (Montelukast): $316
- ProAir HFA (Albuterol sulfate): $87
- Symbicort HFA (Budesonide/Formoterol Fumarate Dihydrate): up to $289
- Ventolin HFA (Albuterol sulfate): around $74
- QVAR Redihaler (Beclomethasone dipropionate): around $230
In 2008, the FDA banned the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in inhalers, requiring the switch to a hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) propellant. While this is better for the environment, studies show it significantly increased asthma inhalers’ costs.
What Influences The Cost Of Inhalers?
There are many factors that influence the cost of inhalers, including the type of inhaler, the brand, your location, and more. We outline these and more below:
One of the main factors influencing the cost of inhalers is the price set by pharmaceutical companies. The higher the price they set, the more expensive it will be for consumers.
When large pharmaceutical companies are involved, they can often leverage their size to increase the cost of drugs.
Type Of Inhaler
The type of inhaler you use can also affect the cost. Some inhalers are more complex and require special equipment, supplies, and training to use them. Below are some of the most common types of inhalers and their cost:
- Preventer inhalers: These are typically used daily to prevent asthma attacks. Depending on the type and brand, they typically cost between $80 and $450.
- Rescue inhalers: These are used to provide quick relief from asthma symptoms and usually cost between $50 and $100.
- Long-acting bronchodilator inhalers: These are taken once or twice a day to prevent and control asthma symptoms, with costs ranging from $300 to over $550.
- Reliever inhalers: These are used to ease the symptoms of an asthma attack. They typically cost between $50 and $80.
- Combination inhalers: These are combination preventer/reliever inhalers that contain two different medications. Depending on the type and brand, they typically cost between $85 and $250.
Insurance coverage is another important factor in determining the cost of an asthma inhaler. If you have health insurance, check to see if it covers any part of the cost of your medication. Some insurance plans may cover all or part of the cost, while others may not cover any costs at all.
Generic Vs Brand Name Inhalers
Generic versions of brand-name medications are often much cheaper than their brand-name counterparts. For example, albuterol typically costs $50 to $100 per inhaler in the United States, but its generic version is less than $15 a dose.
It’s worth checking if a generic version is available before buying an expensive brand-name medication.
However, note that generic versions of inhalers may not be available for all types of medication. Also, generic inhalers may not always be as effective as their brand-name counterparts, so talk to your doctor before switching.
The location where you purchase your inhaler may also influence the cost. Generally, medications are less expensive in generic pharmacies or online retailers than in brick-and-mortar stores. This is because online retailers don’t have the same overhead costs as brick-and-mortar stores and can pass savings on to customers.
Some states may offer government subsidies or programs to help cover the cost of medications, so it’s worth checking with your local health department or Medicaid office to see if any such programs are available in your area.
Subsidies and programs may also be available through the federal government. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services offers a variety of subsidies and programs that can help lower your medication costs, including the Medicare Part D program.
Finally, bulk purchasing can also help reduce costs when it comes to buying asthma medications such as inhalers.
Buying multiple doses at once can often result in significant savings compared to purchasing single doses over time. However, bulk purchasing may not be an option for everyone, so check with your doctor before making a purchase.
Additional Costs To Consider
There are many additional costs associated with using an inhaler. They include:
The most obvious cost associated with using an inhaler is the doctor’s visit, which will typically include a consultation and examination. Additional laboratory tests or imaging may be recommended depending on your condition and the type of medication prescribed.
The doctor’s visit may include additional costs such as co-pays or coinsurance. Co-pays are set fees you have to pay each time you visit the doctor, while coinsurance is a percentage of the services rendered.
Leukotriene modifiers are drugs that work by blocking the formation of inflammation-causing leukotrienes. They’re usually prescribed to patients with mild to moderate asthma and can help reduce asthma attacks.
Leukotriene modifiers are typically taken once daily and can cost up to $150 per month, depending on the type of medication prescribed. They come in both oral and inhalable forms, so make sure to ask your doctor which type is best for you.
Theophylline is a slow-acting bronchodilator used to open the airways and reduce inflammation. It’s usually taken once daily and can cost up to $50 a month, depending on the prescribed type.
Oral corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation and can be taken for a week or two at a time during asthma attacks. They’re typically more expensive than other types of medications, as they often require multiple doses each day.
The cost of oral corticosteroids can range from $10 to over $100 per month, depending on the type prescribed.
Biologics are a type of medication used to treat serious asthma attacks. They work by targeting specific proteins in the body and can reduce airway inflammation for up to six weeks.
Biologics are typically more expensive than other types of medications, as they often require multiple doses each day.
The cost of biologics can range from $1,000 to over $2,000 per month, depending on the type prescribed.
Routine Allergy Shots
You may need routine allergy shots if you suffer from allergies. Allergy shots are used to desensitize your body to allergens that trigger asthma attacks and can help reduce the frequency and severity of attacks over time.
Allergy shots typically cost between $20 and $200 per month, depending on the type of allergy and the frequency of injections.
If your allergies are not severe, you may be given allergy medications such as antihistamines or decongestants instead of allergy shots. These medications are typically cheaper than allergy shots and can be purchased over the counter. They may cost up to $20 per month, depending on the type prescribed.
In addition to the cost of medication, there are also costs associated with additional supplies needed for using an inhaler. These include:
- Spacers and Holding Chambers: Spacers and holding chambers are devices that help deliver more of the medication from an inhaler into the lungs. They range in price from $5 to $25, depending on the type and brand.
- Masks: Some inhalers require a mask to help deliver the medication into the lungs. Masks range in price from $5 to $15, depending on the type and brand.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Generic Asthma Inhaler?
A generic asthma inhaler is an inhaler that contains the same active ingredients as a brand-name asthma inhaler but is produced by another manufacturer.
Generic inhalers are usually cheaper than brand-name inhalers and may be prescribed when a doctor feels a generic product is appropriate.
How Much Will An Asthma Inhaler Cost Without Insurance In 2023?
The cost of an asthma inhaler without insurance in 2023 can vary widely depending on the type of inhaler and where it is purchased.
Generally, however, generic asthma inhalers can range from $25 to $50.
Brand-name asthma inhalers may be more expensive, ranging from $100 to several hundred dollars.
Are there Options To Reduce The Cost Of An Asthma Inhaler Without Insurance?
There are several options for those without insurance to help reduce the cost of an asthma inhaler. Pharmacies may provide discounts, coupons, or other special offers on certain inhalers.
Additionally, some manufacturers may offer patient assistance programs that provide free or reduced-cost inhalers to those who qualify. However, getting insurance is the surest way to reduce the cost of an asthma inhaler.
Buying asthma inhalers out-of-pocket in 2023 is expensive. This is why you need a good insurance plan. With one, you get your preferred asthma inhaler at a fraction of its normal cost. Enhance Health can help you find and activate flexible coverage options to fit your budget and lifestyle, so you can get the care you need while keeping more money in your pocket.
Even if you’re a low-income earner or have no income, there’s still a way you can get a plan at Enhance Health. Get in touch now for more information.