Medications too costly? These can help
Q: Is there anything I can do to help cut back on my prescription costs? I have private insurance, but the copays are still too high!
A: Even after a medication has been billed to insurance plans, they may still be expensive. The high cost could be due to a number of things — including high deductibles, which require you to pay a certain amount for your medications before the insurance coverage kicks in, or varying coverage of medications within your plan, which could cause you to have a higher copay.
Whatever the case may be, the staff at your local pharmacy can help you investigate the following solutions:
Drug manufacturer copay cards
Copay cards — also known as copay savings programs, copay coupons or copay assistance cards — allow you to avoid paying full price for a drug that has no generic version.
Copay cards are often available on manufacturers’ websites for many brand-name drugs. The patient or pharmacist simply signs up for the program, prints the card from the website, and then presents the card each time a prescription is filled.
Keep in mind that these cards are used in combination with private insurance. Unfortunately, patients with prescription insurance through state or federal healthcare programs such as Medicare or Medicaid are not eligible for these copay programs.
However, there may be other resources from the manufacturer that can help.
Pharmacy-specific discount programs
Many pharmacies, such as Publix, RiteAid and Walgreens, offer specific in-house programs to cover common generic medications. These programs can be used without insurance or coupons.
For example, Publix offers a 90-day supply of select generic medications for $7.50. Your pharmacist can work with you to transfer your medications to a pharmacy that offers one of these programs.
You may notice a large difference in pricing among pharmacies. By downloading the GoodRx app or using its website, GoodRx.com, you can compare prices at local pharmacies.
Make sure you search for the correct name, strength and quantity of the drug you were prescribed, as pricing will vary based on this information.
It is also important to confirm that your pharmacy accepts GoodRx. It’s used independently from insurance; use it if you do not have insurance or if the price of your prescription is cheaper on GoodRx.
Do not hesitate to speak with your pharmacist to see if transferring your prescription to another pharmacy may be the best option for you.
There are a variety of other coupon cards and programs available to help pay for your prescriptions, such as SingleCare, WellRx, InsideRx and America’s Pharmacy.
You may have received some of these coupons in the mail. If you have not, your local pharmacy will have some on hand.
Keep in mind that these coupons cannot be combined with insurance or other offers, but they could possibly be a cheaper alternative to your private insurance copays.
Overall, the best thing to do when faced with this stressful situation is to talk with the staff at your local pharmacy. Together, you can identify saving programs specific to your situation.
Ashley Brooks is a fourth-year doctor of pharmacy student at VCU School of Pharmacy.