Americans spend more on drugs than people in any other country and the amount of out of pocket is projected to rise to$ 67 billion dollars in 2025, from about $25 billion dollars in 2000.
But there is good news for consumers. Paying out of pocket might be cheaper than using your insurance! And now - thanks to new laws in effect - you can get that information directly from your pharmacist.
A March 2018 study found for about 1 out of 5 prescriptions, insurers required people to pay more using their insurance than if they paid the pharmacy's retail price. One reason this happened: Gag clauses.
Action News has warned you about these clauses before, they prevented pharmacists from telling you there may be a lower price by not using your insurance - but not anymore!
"We worked with a lot of state legislators to help pass state by state laws to help curtail this practice. And then, this past October, two bills were passed in Congress put an end to this practice once and for all on a national level which is a terrific win for consumers," said Lisa Gill, Consumer Reports Health Editor.
"We can actually help the consumer a whole lot more. For example, last night, a lady came in for an antibiotic ointment, we filled it, ran it through her insurance was $192 dollars. Put it through for the cash price and it was just $15 dollars. So, all that saving went into her own pocket," said William Stroud, Pharmacist.
The number one thing to do, ask: "Is this the lowest possible price on my medication?"
"(first) Make sure you really need that medication. Two, make sure you're taking a generic. Generics are a good option for most people and will save you boatloads of money. Third, Can I get a three-month or 90 day? Save at least one copay, sometimes two," Gill recommends.
Also, check for savings online. On NeedyMeds.org, type in your drug and get different types of coupons available including the manufacturer coupon.
And GoodRX.com and BlinkHealth.com show the best discounts from pharmcies in your area.
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What's the Deal: How to pay less for prescription medications