Comparison shopping a prescription for RX savings

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Susan Blair has decent insurance, with a relatively low co-pay for prescription medications. But she’s realized she’s been spending more than she has to on her medications for years.

“One co-pay was $195 through my insurance every three months, and one was $95 every three months,” says Blair.

She decided to shop around. There are a number of websites and apps that allow consumers to search prescription prices online. Blair uses GoodRX, which gathers prices of all prescription drugs, and coupons, into one space, giving users the option to find the lowest price – with, or without, insurance or Medicare.

“I think people feel like I do. They are fed up and tired of not being able to afford the drugs they need to stay alive,” says Doug Hirsch, the co-founder of GoodRX.

He explains, before founding GoodRX, he realized he’d often pay a $20 co-pay for a prescription that he could have purchased cheaper somewhere else, without insurance.

And while everyone could shop around by calling all of the pharmacies in town, asking for pricing with or without insurance, and whether there are any applicable discounts or coupons, most people won’t do that. GoodRX does the legwork, compiling the information in a searchable database.

Blair says she’s now saving more than $100 on two prescriptions, paying $75 and $105 for three months, by paying with cash and not using her insurance.

That’s pretty typical, says Hirsch.

“Our average consumer saves around $40 or $50 on a prescription,” Hirsch says.

There are other ways, to save, or layer savings.

  • Some grocery store or pharmacy chains, including WalMart, Publix, and Target offer free or low-cost generic medications.
  • Multi-month prescriptions may cost less than a one-month supply with refills. Check with your pharmacy, and if that’s the case, ask your doctor for a 60- or 90-day supply.
  • Some pharmacies will give a discount for mail-order prescriptions.
  • Ask if your doctor will prescribe a higher-dosage pill that can be split in half. That saves 50 percent per prescription.

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