According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), an estimated 20 million people in the US suffer from thyroid disease, and more than half may not even know it! It’s more common in women than men but affects all genders and ages – even infants.
Once you’re diagnosed with it, there are several medications available. However, thyroid disease refers to more than one disorder, as there is more than one type – hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. What is the difference, and how much does thyroid medication cost without insurance?
Get all the answers you need below.
What Is Thyroid Medication For?
There are different types of thyroid medications, but they all work by addressing thyroid hormonal imbalances.
To understand why thyroid medication is so important, let’s examine what the thyroid is and what can go wrong when it stops functioning properly.
The Thyroid – A Small Gland With A Big Job
The thyroid is a hormone-producing gland in the middle of the lower part of the neck. This small, butterfly-shaped gland performs some very critical functions. It regulates the body’s metabolism (the rate at which energy is produced) and the speed and force of your heart rate.
It goes without saying that when your thyroid doesn’t work properly, your health will be seriously affected.
But there are two thyroid disorders to be aware of – hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. And they are opposites to each other.
Hyperthyroidism describes an overactive thyroid gland. It produces too much thyroid hormone. The range of symptoms of this disorder can include muscle weakness, unexplained weight loss, vision problems, and even sleep disturbances.
The rare genetic autoimmune disorder known as Graves’ disease is a common cause of hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism describes an underactive thyroid gland. People with this condition don’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms include depression, weight gain, and extreme fatigue.
Different Thyroid Medications And Their Costs
So, what are the most common medications used to treat thyroid disorders, and how much can you expect to pay for them without insurance coverage?
Hypothyroidism medication increases the production of thyroid hormones/supplements thyroid hormone levels.
Common hypothyroid drugs include Levothyroxine (Synthroid, Unithroid), Liothyronine (Cytomel), and natural thyroid (Nature Throid, Westhroid).
What is the cost of Levothyroxine without insurance?
- Generic Levothyroxine costs a little under $16 for 30 tablets on average. However, brand-name Levothyroxine medications are far more expensive. Synthroid retails for almost $60 for 30 tablets and Unithroid goes for about $94 on average for 30 Unithroid tablets.
- Expect to pay just over $41 for 30 tablets, on average, for the generic medication Liothyronine. Once again, the brand-name drug is far more expensive. For 30 tablets of the brand name Cytomel, you’ll pay an average of almost $91!
- When it comes to natural thyroid medications, for the same amount of tablets, you can get Westhroid for about $13.21 while Nature-Throid will set you back about $20.41, on average.
Hyperthyroidism medication slows down the production of thyroid hormones.
Propylthiouracil (PTU) and Methimazole (Tapezole) are common hyperthyroidism drugs.
The average retail price for generic Propylthiouracil (30 tablets) is $24.69. On average, you can expect to pay just under $17 for the generic Methimazole (30 tablets).
Tips For Saving Money On Your Thyroid Medication
Brand-name thyroid medication is a significant expense without the security of health insurance coverage. But you can reduce these expenses and save money in a few ways.
- Doctors often get incentives from pharmaceutical company reps for prescribing brand-name drugs. If you are prescribed a thyroid drug that you can’t afford, don’t hesitate to ask if a cheaper, generic alternative is available. Generic medications are usually more affordable.
- Consider where you purchase your medication. The same medication may have different prices at different locations. Pharmacy chains are often far more affordable than stand-alone drug stores. That’s because the big chains have more buying power and sell in greater volume. Thus, they can reduce their markup to give you lower prices.
- Enroll for affordable health insurance as soon as possible. If the thought of high premiums worries you, you can relax. Many health plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are highly affordable. If you meet the criteria, you may pay nothing!
Thyroid Medications Frequently Asked Questions
Are thyroid medications used for thyroid cancer?
Thyroid cancer occurs when cells in the tissues of the thyroid gland grow abnormally. This is unrelated to thyroid disorders, although the symptoms may be similar.
Treatment for thyroid cancer includes surgery to partially or completely remove the affected thyroid and nearby lymph nodes. Cancer treatment also includes specialized drugs and radiation therapies to kill cancer cells.
Will Medicare cover thyroid treatment and medication?
Yes, Medicare covers thyroid treatment and testing, but it depends on which Medicare plan you are on.
Part B covers thyroid testing, Part A covers hospitalization, and Part D healthcare plans cover at least one-third of the costs of thyroid medication.
Paying for thyroid medication can be costly without insurance, especially for brand-name drugs. While generics are far cheaper, the expense may be out of reach for unemployed people or low-income households. However, your financial or employment status isn’t a barrier to good health care and health insurance.
Call Enhance Health today and let us assist you in finding the right health insurance plan for your needs.