Venturing out to cut costs for prescriptions can be like wandering down a dark ally while haggling for the best price at the busiest market. The price of a medication can vary greatly, even within the same zip code depending on the available retailers. Pharmaceutical companies price medications at a high rate because they do not want to list a price below what the standard price an insurance company will pay. This leads to huge variations in the market and for opportunities for out-of-pocket payers to seek deals.
Only about 10% of customers will pay out-of-pocket, even though some medication can cost less than a co-payment. For example, some retailers, like Sam’s club will offer a 30-day supply of a generic drug for $4 for a 30-day or $10 for a 90-day supply to their members.
It should be noted that any out-of-pocket programs that are not direct co-pays in association with an insurance plan do not count towards any deductibles. Although only 17% of shoppers seek out price comparisons there are some standard tips that can lower the costs of prescriptions.
1. Ask for the Generic.
2. Check the insurance company site to see what prescriptions are covered.
3. If it is a Name Brand Drug have the physician indicate on the script that it must be prescribed as written so it is more likely to be covered by the insurance company.
4. If a medication is not covered by an insurance company have the doctor write a new script with one that is covered. A pharmacist is likely to help mediate this conversation while filling it.
5. Ask the pharmacist if it is cheaper to pay out-of-pocket or if there are any deals.
6. Costco has been found in studies to consistently offer the cheapest prices for medications because their pricing schedule for pharmaceuticals is similar to the pricing of other products in the store. Also, membership is not required to fill a script.
7. Price compare online using www.goodrx.com, the site price compares the retailers in the area and gives coupons that can be printed. It will also compare the price with an online dealer.
8. If getting medications from an online retailer make sure that the site is a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site and displays the VIPPS logo. It should also clearly operate within the US to avoid unregulated medications.
9. Ask for 90-day prescriptions
10. Don’t be afraid to talk to doctors and pharmacists about price. Ask “Is this your lowest price?” to get any additional deals and coupons that might not be known unless requested.
Medical bills can be costly and after saving clients millions in medical bills I know that care isn’t just doctor visits and hospital stays. It is the aftercare that can really pinch pockets. For more resources on how to get help paying for medical bills click here. Also, please feel free to reach out to my office directly.