Most of us would never shop without a stack full of coupons. That, of course, means more money in your wallet. But the same isn't true for prescription drugs.
The CDC reports nearly three out of four trips to the doctor result in a prescription. Yet a recent Consumer Reports survey finds nearly 87 percent of patients surveyed don't have drug coverage; nearly half skipped filling a prescription because of cost.
"If you don't have insurance coverage, there's a very easy way to save some money," explains Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.Org.
The discount comes in the form of prescription drug cards. Many are free on the internet. Others are complimentary with memberships like AARP and AAA.
ConsumerWorld.Org recently put five cards to the test filling a prescription for 30 tablets of generic Lipitor.
Dworsky says, "The full price was $109. When you use one of the five cards on our survey you only pay between $46 and $60. That's 40 percent to 60 percent less, because you had a piece of paper and you got the discount right away."
ConsumerWorld.Org found AARP and AAA cards beat the others, and in other comparisons, the savings aren't as substantial as advertised.
"For the elderly and people who are on very low incomes, $3 and $5 savings on even low cost prescriptions is a lot of money," says Jay Wolfson, Associate Vice President of USF Health.
Savings can vary based on pharmacy, and discount card. However, some believe the discount comes with a tradeoff.
"Since you are using their card for prescriptions, they now have profiles on your pharmaceutical use," Wolfson explains. "These cards serve as a vehicle for other products and services to come to you from social marketing."
Experts suggest asking lots of questions before signing up for a discount card.
"Every card has a separate set of discounts, one card might be good on one drug... another card might be good on yet a different drug," says Dworsky. "You unfortunately have to get a couple of them, and a friendly pharmacist, who is willing to price them out with each card."
There are other options. Big drug stores give discounts if you pay a fee to join their prescription club. Other stores offer free and discounted generics.
For more information: http://www.consumerworld.org/pubs/prescriptiondrugcardsprs.pdf
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