Prescription Coupon - Pharmacy Discounts Up To 90%
So how do you know when to clip and when to skip? Drug manufacturers have offered these programs more in recent years, in part because insurance companies often charge consumers higher co-pays for brand-name products. The offers can be enticing. Indeed, nearly 16 percent, or nearly 19 million, of all Americans who regularly take a prescription medication have used coupons in the last year to save money, according to a survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
See the chart below for more details.
For example, according to a recent analysis by Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs , although Actos is used to treat type 2 diabetes, three other low-cost generic medications actually work as well as or better than Actos: After that, you are on your own, paying either the full co-pay or the cash price for medication, depending on your level of insurance coverage. The Crestor program is a day free trial of the drug.
If you regularly take a drug or are about to begin one that has a coupon or discount program, there are a few issues to consider. Among them:. Do the math. Even if you have a coupon for a brand-name drug, that doesn't mean it will be your least-expensive option. While coupons might make brand-name drugs cheaper, less-expensive generic equivalents may be available, and many of those generic alternatives are just as effective and as safe as their brand-name counterparts. Co-pays for generics are often much lower—sometimes as little as one-tenth the cost—than those for brand-name drugs.
Drug Savings List
Before starting on a brand-name drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist about comparable generics. It could save you hundreds of dollars or more a year. See chart below for some examples. Avoid imitations. Websites offering discounts on prescription medications abound. However, those programs may not be legitimate or may not be accepted by your insurance provider or your pharmacy. Watch for limitations. Many manufacturer-issued coupons are only available for a limited supply of the drug. For medications to treat a chronic condition, find out if your insurance will cover the brand-name drug available with the coupon, and see how the co-pay compares to that of a comparable generic before starting it.
None of the programs we found allowed those covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or any federal program to participate. Consider the long term. Insurance companies generally charge lower co-pays for generic drugs because they are usually less expensive for them as well—and with the idea that lower co-pays will encourage you to use those less-expensive products. In some cases, with certain brand-name drugs, your insurance may offer lower co-pay prices when they have struck certain deals with a drug manufacturer.
See our most recent story about Lipitor for an example. Drug companies, in turn, have created coupon programs as part of a marketing effort for their pricey, brand-name drugs.
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The coupons lower your costs, but not those of your insurance company, according to a recent report by Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, an insurance industry advocate. The result? Those discount programs can raise the cost for all those covered by their plans. Ultimately, those costs could be passed on in the form of higher premiums—in short, more money out of your pocket.
Consider omeprazole , a CR Best Buy. It is as safe and effective as Nexium.
You can get it without a prescription too. In some cases, you may be able to try CR Best Buys lovastatin, pravastatin or simvastatin instead. Only for those new to taking Abilify; max of two capsules per day. Cannot be used with Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal insurance. If you are considering Abilify to treat depression, see our Best Buy Drug report for more details on the effectivess and safety of these medications.
Consider starting with a diuretic if possible. But if he chose the discount route, he would be responsible for his deductible if he had any other health expenses during the year, like a surgery.
He said patients need to do their homework — checking the cost with insurance and with available coupons or discounts — before jumping into what looks like a great deal. She thinks drug companies are using the coupons to quiet negative press about their prices while creating brand loyalty. The hope is that consumers will stick with the brand — and what may be a high price — even when there is no coupon available. A video guide: How do prescription drug prices get set? When copays were low and insurance companies covered most prescription drugs, consumers had no reason to care about the price of their medications, Bangerter said.
But as health plans have passed more of their costs on to their members through higher deductibles, higher premiums and more cost-sharing, consumers have started to get wise and begun to make a public stink about high prices. At the same time, the growth of generic options has put pharmaceutical companies under more pressure to advertise and convince consumers to buy their brands.
Amid an uproar over insulin prices, manufacturer Eli Lilly and pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts did the same thing, announcing a partnership to offer 40 percent discounts on three Lilly diabetes drugs. For example, drug makers may offer coupons to get around the system of rebates and exclusion lists set up by pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen in the drug pricing system that often determine which drugs end up on formularies used by health plans. Pharmacy benefit managers solicit rebates from drug manufacturers in return for placing their products on formularies that determine which drugs are covered and preferred.
They also can require prior authorizations — advance approval from the health plan before a patient can use a high-priced drug. The manufacturer of a drug that is not on the preferred list or is supposed to get prior authorization may offer a coupon to entice consumers to use their product anyway, end running around the system pharmacy benefit managers say saves millions.
Often the coupons are only good for one or two refills, with the manufacturer hoping the patient will stick with their brand after the discount has run out, Ciaccia said. The rebates the pharmacy benefit managers receive are controversial too, and some argue they offer no savings to the consumer because manufacturers build the cost of the rebate into their pricing structure. For consumers, it may make sense to grab at whatever option will result in a lower prescription price. In a twist, Rau ended getting a big break on his insulin costs, but not through any coupon program.
Here are some things experts say to look for.
Manufacturer coupons: Can be found online or may be given out by doctors and pharmacies. Check to see if the discount expires after a set dollar amount or number of refills and whether or not drug purchases will count toward insurance deductibles or out-of-pocket ceilings. Patient assistance programs: