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
One 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?