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Home » Health, Health Insurance, HSA's

Save Money on Prescriptions with Mail Order Delivery

Last updated by on January 17, 2016

One great thing about switching to a HDHP for your insurance is that your HSA can be used to cover the cost of prescription drugs.

This means that you no longer pay an out-of-pocket co-pay (usually $10, $20, or more), as you do with most traditional health care plans.

The downside is that you usually end up paying more for the prescription. But, if your employer contributes to your HSA, as mine does, you still come out ahead as the money is effectively coming out of funds your employer has given you that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Still, despite playing with “house money” you will want to minimize the cost of prescriptions, if possible.

Finding Cheap Prescription Drugs is not Easy

mail order prescriptionsOne way to lower your prescription drug costs, when you are outside of a co-pay, is to shop around at various pharmacies near you to see if the price differs.

I did this for the two prescriptions my wife and I have and found that the price differential was minimal ($1 or less) from one pharmacy to another. Target, CVS, Walgreens, WalMart, and Meijer were all offering eerily similar prices. You may have a different experience with your particular prescriptions, so it is worth a check.

A second way to do this is through online bargain hunting.

I started searching around for the prescriptions I was seeking online, but the results were not what I had hoped for. Outside of really shady-looking online-only Canadian pharmacies, I could not find cheaper prescription prices online.

I’m not saying there aren’t legit prescription drug websites out there, but is your health something worth gambling with? Check out this 60 Minutes piece on counterfeit drugs if you have full faith in ordering prescriptions online.

A third method could be as simple as not immediately shredding mail from your insurance provider, who may offer a prescription mail order delivery program.

What is a Mail Order Prescription Delivery Program?

My health insurance provider, Cigna, had sent me a few promotional letters in the mail regarding their prescription mail order delivery.

I had mostly ignored them until I became a bit frustrated that I could not find cheaper prescriptions outside of Canadian pharmacy websites.

My wife called in to find out more about the program and found that it offered:

  • lower prices: total cost of  the two prescriptions would be 25% less than what I could find at any local retailers.
  • 90-day supplies: no stressing out about getting a prescription filled every single month and taking the time to drive to the pharmacy.
  • free shipping: this sure beats spending a few dollars in gas each month to drive to the pharmacy.

Your mileage may vary from what I found with Cigna. A quick search for “health insurance prescription home delivery” found that at least Humana, Aetna, and HAP are all running similar prescription mail order delivery programs.

Saving Money on Prescription Drugs Discussion:

  • Have you switched your prescriptions from pharmacy to mail order delivery?
  • How much has it saved you?
  • What other ways have you been able to save money on prescriptions?

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 10,000+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • R S says:

    I actually have a question.. Can HSAs and FSAs only be used for the person who took them out? Or can the funds be shared across a family?
    Situation: DH & I have separate health insurance plans from different proiders. I have an FSA, he doesn’t. Can funds from my FSA be used for his meds etc? Logistically, it seems like it should be ok – we file taxes joint & have joint everything.. but paperwork-wise, I can see how it may not make sense to the benefit provider.

    Any thoughts?

    • Amanda M says:

      I have insurance with one of the mentioned providers, and they are very up front with the fact that you will pay less when ordering through them. Basically, they say that if you get a prescription more than twice in a short period, it is considered a “maintenance” drug, and the co-pay goes up tremendously if you are not using their provider. Luckily, they work quite well, with delivery times within 5 days (sometimes in 2), and placing an order for a normal prescription takes about 5 minutes if you don’t want your CC on file, and 2 if you’re fine with that.

      Speaking to the use of your insurance for someone else’s prescription, this is not allowed through my plan. The prescription (which can be called in by the doctor or mailed in by you) must be for a person who is covered by the plan. Unless you convince your doctor to commit fraud (which I personally would not try), this would not work.

  • Natalie H says:

    I found the best price for my Rx at Costco. It was even cheaper than my University pharmacy which sells at cost but has a lower volume.

    Re RS’s question:

    HSAs allow for spending on spouse and any dependents, regardless of whether they are covered under your plan. I’m guessing FSAs are similar, but I don’t know for sure. The terms of HSAs and FSAs are defined by the law which created them, not your employer.

  • Caroline Leopold says:

    Good article. When I had a regular job, I had health insurance paying for my drugs minus a 30 dollar co-pay. Didn’t like the HSA because if you don’t use it, you lose it at the end of the year. You have to be organized to benefit.

    But now I’m self-employed and I have seen the other side. The reason senior citizens buy in Canada is because prescription drugs are ridiculously expensive to pay out of pocket. I’m not a senior yet, but I’m getting bilked for one lousy drug. If I paid retail in the US, I’d cough up $220 per month for my generic prescription. For 30 pills! My monthly cost in Canada is $40. For people without health insurance, Canada is the best option. And these are certified pharmacies in a country with single payer healthcare. Thank God for single payer and free trade. Long live Canada.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Re: use it or lose it – HSA’s roll over from year to year. FSA’s do not. You must have had an FSA.

      Ahhh… single payer healthcare. Insurance companies have led a smear campaign against it and have bought one of our political parties to fuel that flame (I won’t say which one b/c I’m non-partisan like that). The funny thing is everyone else in the country would benefit, including businesses. There is actually a coalition of businesses in Canada who are contributing significant dollars for advertising for positive PR for single payer.

      Anyhow, one of these days… one can dream, right?

  • Ron Ablang says:

    For me when my daughter needed Isoniazid to treat her exposure to T.B. I found that a few B&M stores were cheaper than Kaiser, and the difference was enough to make it worth the while.


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