By Leonard Grover, Former Mercer Health & Benefits Principal
Consumer Reports’ February 2017 poll asked consumers how they reacted when faced with new higher prescription prices. Poll showed:
51% of consumers did nothing to decrease the price of their prescription
37% just paid the higher price
14% did not fill the prescription. (1)
Why do a majority of consumers simply pay-up or walk away when faced with higher prescription costs? Because they believe two myths about prescription drugs pricing.
Try Searching the LowestMed Price for your Drug!
Prescription Drug Pricing Myth #1
Consumers believe their insurance card will always provide them with the lowest price available. This myth is proven wrong every day by countless consumers who compare a discount program costs to the cost when using their insurance card. The user reviews on smart phone apps of discount prescription programs tell over and over of individuals’ complete shock when they find that prescription coupons provided a lower out-of-pocket costs than their health insurance did.
Every day consumers with insurance are paying more than they should for their prescriptions. For more proof about this pricing myth watch this CBS Denver undercover investigation.
Prescription Drug Pricing Myth #2
Consumers with no insurance believe they have no option but to pay the price the pharmacist quotes them. The price quoted to a consumer without insurance is the pharmacy’s “list or cash price.” Consumer Reports’ March 2017 article reveals that consumers without insurance should never pay the “list or cash price” quoted to them at a pharmacy:
“Retail pharmacies don’t really expect anyone to pay those high prices,” says Adam Fein, Ph.D., president of Pembroke Consulting. “The list price is just a fantasy number,” he adds. “In fact, reps from both CVS and Rite Aid told us that they expect cash buyers (those without insurance) to access discounts.” (1)
So what percent of consumers are using discount coupons in order to not pay the new higher prices? According to the Consumer Reports’ February 2017 poll, a mere 17% of consumers facing an increased price used a discount coupon. (1)
If you believe either of these prescription pricing myths, now is the time to learn about how you can find price comparison tools and discount coupons for your prescriptions. The best short education on discount coupons was in a recent Consumer Reports article:
“Look for Discount Coupons Online: If you pay out of pocket, look up prices and discounts at pharmacies near you ahead of time, by using price-comparison websites [like] LowestMed.com” (2)
Do your homework on prescription discount coupons apps to avoid feeling like this consumer who saved $70 using a prescription discount coupon: “Wish I had known about it long ago”.
(1) Ginger Skinner, “Why Drug Costs Keep Rising—and What You Can Do About It”, Consumer Reports, May 2017
(2) Ginger Skinner, “5 Hacks for Lowering Your Prescription Drug Costs”, Consumer Reports, February 2017