Did you know that prescription drug prices can vary greatly between pharmacies, and change throughout the day?
Many people choose a pharmacy based on convenience or location and just accept whatever price they are given. But using a prescription savings app can help you save up to 80 percent on your monthly drug costs by making it easy to find the lowest prices at pharmacies near you.
Considering that high drug prices are the number one reason people cite for not taking their medication, finding the best deals on prescriptions can have a serious impact on your overall health. This is particularly true if you struggle to afford your prescriptions and take more than one medication on a daily basis. Review the sections below to learn more about prescription savings apps and how they can help you cut your medication budget today.
To fully understand how prescription savings apps work, you first must understand how drug pricing works. Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) contract with health insurance providers and Medicare to help manage pharmacy benefits. PBMs work with pharmacies to provide you with certain discounts off the base price of a medication. This is one way that insurance prescription co-payments are determined. PBMs also create rules that help encourage correct use of the drug, prescription compliance and patient safety.
PBMs may also choose to work with uninsured individuals by providing discounts through prescription savings apps. The type of discount or coupon a PBM issues can vary greatly, and your prescription savings app can help you find the best, most current discount for your medication.
In addition to the discounts available through PBMs, pharmacies may offer additional discounts, coupons or certain drugs for free. Some offer membership programs that offer low cash prescription prices—and some of these may even beat your insurance co-payment. Your prescription savings app is designed to show you the possible discounts you are entitled to and guide you to the best deals.
There are many prescription savings apps to choose from. These apps provide similar services, but some may be limited to a specific pharmacy or retail store. Ranked in random order, some commonly-used prescription savings apps include:
The best way to understand how a prescription savings app can work for you is to choose one and explore its features online. Simply type in your drug name and a list will appear, detailing the prices and deals that are currently available.
A recent search for the common seizure medication, gabapentin, showed an average retail price of $75.94 for a 30-day supply. The lowest price available was $11.50, obtained at Walmart with a free discount. CVS was just 58 cents more with the use of a free GoodRx coupon. There was also an option to purchase the medication through Health Warehouse’s online pharmacy for a non-discounted cash price of $27.00.
A search for metformin, a frequently prescribed diabetes drug, showed an average cash price of $28.42 for a 30-day supply. Using the app’s coupons, the price dropped to $7.84. However, the app’s best offers came from grocery store pharmacies. Publix and Winn-Dixie both offer a month’s worth of metformin at no charge, and the same amount is only $4 at Kroger.
Every prescription savings app will help you compare drug prices at your local pharmacies. However, there are bonus features inside them all. For example, each medication on GoodRx includes a brief description of the drug, how it works and the conditions its commonly prescribed for. It also lists similar drugs in the same category. This is helpful if you think it might be beneficial to ask your doctor about switching to a cheaper drug. The app sends refill reminders that include where to find the best prices that day.
If you find pills in an unlabeled bottle or pill box, see if your app offers pill identification services. Many offer this ID service, where you enter the tablet’s shape, color and imprint to find out what type of medication you’ve found.
Some prescription savings apps include an easy “share” feature, so you can tell your Facebook, Twitter and email friends about the deals you scored through your app. In addition, most apps can be programmed to set off a phone alarm when it’s time to take your medication.
Another reason that GoodRx is a popular app is its fee-free PillPack service. This mail-order pharmacy service puts your daily medication into individual packets marked with the date and time. It eliminates the hassle of sorting through your pills and trying to remember which ones you have taken that day. It also makes it easy to identify when you have missed a dose. Additionally, PillPack participants receive preferred pricing for over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements.