When you have medical insurance, it’s easy to assume that you have to use that policy to buy prescription drugs. This can be a costly mistake.
Sometimes going through a health plan means you’ll pay a lot more than using a free pharmacy discount or even paying out of pocket.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to check and find the best prices for prescriptions near you, with or without insurance.
I tried driving this way to save money because I have a different insurer this year, and with that change came a big increase in the price of some prescriptions.
What I found was that every drug I was prescribed would cost less – a lot less – if I didn’t go through my insurance plan but instead relied on finding stores that offered the best direct prices or on free use
For example, a prescription that would cost more than
Note: It has been reported by several
Here is a second example: With another drug, I discovered that I could save
If these examples inspire you to shop around for drug prices, here’s how I found the best deals:
First, make a list of your prescriptions, including the amount you normally receive each time and what you paid for. Second, go online to goodrx.com and see how little you could pay. The website will show prices for many pharmacies in your zip code, including pharmacies in grocery stores and big box stores. Third, if the best prices you find are with
I confess that I don’t really know how
If you decide to skip your health coverage to save money on prescriptions, be aware that any money you spend outside of your plan will not count towards any deductible you may have.
It matters, however, if you have a health savings account or a flexible spending account. Both types of tax-advantaged plans can be used for eligible medical expenses you pay, whether or not an insurer is involved.
One thing you’re likely to find while price shopping is that grocery store pharmacies typically have significantly better prices than stand-alone pharmacies whether you’re paying out of pocket or with a coupon.
It’s unfortunate that even having an expensive health insurance plan doesn’t mean getting the best prices on pharmaceuticals.
The good news is that spending a few minutes online can reveal whether the insurance company’s price is a good deal or a bad deal, and where to find the best prices nearby.
If you don’t have internet access or aren’t comfortable online, do this instead: The next time you pick up a prescription, ask the pharmacist what it would cost if you used a
You might find a better deal this way, but finding the best price near you by checking online would work even better.