Prescription Discount Cards, Too Good to Be True?
Heather L. Lee, MSN, FNP-C
It’s no secret that prescription medications are getting more expensive every year. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office released a report in January 2022 that revealed nationwide spending on prescription drugs had skyrocketed from $30 billion in 1980 to $335 billion in 2018. Even with medical insurance, the out-of-pocket costs can be alarming. Prescription discount cards could provide some relief. That’s why it’s important to understand what they can and cannot do.
How it works:
- A pharmacy and a prescription discount company partner up.
- A customer uses a discount company website or app to find a lower price on their medication.
- The customer goes to the pharmacy, presents a coupon, and pays a lower price.
- The pharmacy pays a small fee to the discount company for bringing the customer in.
Find the best program for you:
- Most prescription discount programs are free. If they charge a fee, walk away.
- Make sure your local pharmacies accept the discount card. You may have to shop around for the best price as two pharmacies on the same street can have different prices for the same medication.
- Is the card easy to use? Is it a physical card, an app on your phone, or do you have to print out the coupons before using them?
- What does the company do with your information? Making sure the company is compliant with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) will protect your privacy. Read the terms and conditions closely.
Where to start:
- SingleCare is for any US citizen over age 13. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gave them an A+ rating.
- America’s Pharmacy offers discounts for your family and pets, too.
- GoodRx is widely available and offers health information written by health care providers on their website.
- New York Rx card for NYS residents, that can be used anywhere in the country. No personal information required.
For more information you can visit https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/overview-of-prescription-discount-programs.
This article appeared in the Coalition’s Summer 2023 newsletter, “Voices of the Ribbon.“