Price Transparency Strategies

Here are a few strategies to help you save on prescriptions: 

Speak to your doctor: Your doctor is your best advocate!  Let them know if you have difficulties in getting your prescriptions.

Compare prices:  There can be quite a bit of difference from one pharmacy to another for the same drug.   Local prices can be checked on sites such as Good RX.   As a general rule, independent pharmacies and discount pharmacies do carry lower prices.   One of the larger pharmacies as actually owned by the insurance companies and often offer the highest price. 

Pay cash:  Believe it or not the cash price can be the LOWEST price you don’t have to use your insurance to pay for your medications every time.    This is called spread pricing.  Sometimes with prices on generic medication the cash price is lower than the price quoted on your insurance.  Unfortunately, your insurance company profits the difference from the actual price to what they are offering you.  The pharmacy benefit manager or PBM sets the price or medications you buy. 

Use a prescription savings card: The more expensive name brand drugs are very expensive, and the manufactures offer copay cards to help offset your out-of-pocket expenses.   To find them simply go the the internet and find the official website of your medication and sign up for copay assistance.  Theses cards are very helpful and generally are not needs based.

Look for prescription drug coupons:  You can find this online on the official website of your medication and online coupon websites and applications.

Apply for prescription assistance:  If you are considered lower income and are on Medicare you can apply for low-income subsidies.  

Ask for a generic:  Occasionally but not often there may be a generic that does the same thing

Try a different medication:  Speak with your doctor. Find out if you must have that medication? Are there substitutes that have a similar effect.   Perhaps a name brand that has a better copay assistance program.

Request a 90-day supply: When buying generics, you often pay less when you buy in bulk.   When it is permitted such as not controlled medication see if your doctor will write for a larger supply.  Remember however certain medications need to monitored, especially new prescriptions, and you must follow your doctor’s advice for follow up lab tests or visits.

Try an online pharmacy:  There are several online pharmacies that offer discount prices.  Some use your insurance, and some are for cash.

Change your insurance plan:  Sometimes insurance plans have restrictions of the types of medications you use and changing or upgrading plans may be your best way to save on out-of-pocket drug expenses.  Also, if you were in the military, you could be eligible for veteran’s benefits which often include very low drug costs. 

Is there an alternative mode of administration that lowers out of pocket costs? For example, if you are on Medicare some medications can be given in the physician’s office intravenously or by injection. Your medication could be paid for by part B Medicare and would not have to be supplied by a pharmacy, provided you have traditional Medicare and a traditional secondary. They generally are much better than the advantage plans that often have high copays that discourage in office treatments. 

Online pharmacies

Online RX coupons 

Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidies