As generics can cost much less than brand-name drugs, ask your doctor if there’s an effective generic version of the brand-name medication you are taking. Chances are there is one, as it has been shown that 80% of FDA-approved drugs have generic versions.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the costs of generics are usually 80% to 85% lower!
Kiplinger notes that because of this, “employers typically offer better coverage for them, too”.
Also, if you’re worried that the brand-name versions have any advantage – by law, there is no significant difference between them. The only difference really is appearance.
You may be able to get a discount if you ask for a better deal. Thus, approach it like you would if you were buying a used car. Ask the pharmacist if there are any discounts, coupons or cheaper alternatives for your prescription.
Independents and other smaller pharmacies will offer more flexibility in matching or beating prices. This is especially true if you pay with cash (gives you an increase in bargaining power).
Pharmacies don’t want to lose your business, so this is one way that they will work with you to keep your business.
Skip Chain Drug Stores
It is best to check out big wholesalers such as Costco and Sam’s Club (even if you’re not a member), as chain drug stores tend to charge more. Consumer Reports found that shoppers could save more than $100 month by doing so.
Retail chains set high prices to help determine what the insurance companies will pay (so there’s no chance that it could undercut what they get paid by insurers). They make higher profits on uninsured individuals and aren’t as concerned about those who pay out of pocket.
Costco, however, has lower prices by controlling expenses. They have a huge inventory of goods and don’t solely rely on their prescription sales.
“It really comes down to a store’s business model. For example, big box stores tend to use their pharmacies as a way to get consumers through the door with the expectation that they’ll buy other things,” an editor at Consumer Reports noted.
Don’t Always Use Insurance
In some cases, your out of pocket price may be less than your co-pay price.
Some pharmacies are bound by contracts to bill the claim through the insurance company unless the customer requests otherwise.
Ask for the price of the prescription if you didn’t use your policy’s prescription drug plan. Chain and big-box pharmacies at stores like Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart offer hundreds of discount generic drugs for cash-paying customers who aren’t using insurance.
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