Rx Savings: Tips and Tools
The International Organization for Economic Co-operation estimates that the average American pays $1,200 a year for medication – more than any other country. Compounding consumers’ frustration is the way we pay for prescriptions. The process seems to get more and more complex, and prices can vary from one pharmacy to the next with no apparent rhyme or reason. Fortunately, there are ways to control your costs with a little effort and few handy tools. Here are some tips:
- Shop around. You probably pull into the most convenient pharmacy when you need to fill a prescription, but you might pay a price for that convenience. Don’t hesitate to call a few pharmacies to check prices before buying, making sure they take into account any prescription coverage, coupons, or discounts you have on hand.
- Look beyond your coverage. Sometimes going through your insurance and paying your co-pay will actually end up being more expensive than bypassing insurance and using some other deal.
- Be prepared to make a couple of stops: You might get a good price on medication at your favorite drug store, but find a better deal on another drug at another retailer. A “divide and conquer” approach can save you money.
- Look for coupons and deals. Drug manufacturers often issue coupons or discounts. Ask your healthcare provider if they know of any available deals, and do online searches for deals before heading to the pharmacy.
- Grab an app. Your best price-saving tool could be on your smart phone. Apps like GoodRx, OneRx, and WeRx can be used at just about any store, while many retailers – such as Walgreens, CVS, and Kroger – have their own in-store apps. These high-tech tools let you see prices from a number of stores in your area and choose the pharmacy counter with the best deal.
- Work with the pharmacist. It might seem like a pain, but if you’re not sure which coupon, discount, or app gives you the best deal, ask the pharmacist to run your prescribed medications through a few different channels before totaling your bill. Check your insurance, an app’s offers or discounts, and coupons to see which gives you the best price. It will take a few extra minutes, but most pharmacies are happy to help you get the best price.
Obviously, getting the best deal takes diligence and patience, but the amount of money you could save makes the investment of time worthwhile.