Prescription Drugs Are Sometimes Cheaper If You Don’t Use Insurance
Prescription drug prices are so opaque, volatile and erratic that sometimes you can get a better deal just by pretending you don’t even have insurance. A ProPublica report says this can be the case up to 10 percent of the time.
Try Blink Health or GoodRx to shop . Both allow you to search the web and do not require insurance or any special qualifications. Blink offers a single price that fits any of the 40,000 pharmacies. GoodRx shows prices that vary by pharmacy and provides printable coupons you might need to get the lowest price. You can also just ask at your pharmacy: Will this prescription be cheaper if we don’t let it through my insurance?
Medicines you buy yourself will not count towards your deductible, so use this trick with caution. And if you pay for your purchases at multiple pharmacies yourself, there is no system that can tell if you are taking two drugs that might interact with each other. Consider bringing a list of your medications to discuss with your pharmacist.
The reasons why the cash price may be lower are numerous, varied, and unpredictable. First, insurance companies often negotiate prices for drug categories rather than trying to get the best price for each category. And if you have a statutory co-pay of, say, $ 15, that won’t change based on the cost of the drug. Insurance companies also know that copays and other out-of-pocket costs deter people from seeking medical care, which lowers their costs. The bottom line is that insurance won’t necessarily get you a better deal, and if you regularly take expensive medications it might be worth trying to do a little shopping comparison.