For many of us, saving money is the name of the game when it comes to shopping.
Whether we are shopping for food, clothes, or gas, we clip coupons, look for less expensive alternatives, and compare store prices to decide where to shop and what to buy.
But what if stores didn’t reveal the price of a product until you reached the cash register? Saving money would be more of a crap shoot and some of us might even stop buying products that we didn’t deem to be absolutely essential. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens to many consumers who try to purchase prescription drugs or other healthcare products. Most states do not require pharmacies or hospitals to disclose their prices until a patient is already purchasing a drug or having a surgery.
How does this lack of pricing transparency happen?
Part of the reason is that your healthcare plan is controlled by middle men, called pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs are hired by your insurer, employee insurance plan, or welfare plan to negotiate costs between the insurance company and pharmacies, hospitals, and other health services. Because pharmacy benefit managers are hired by the insurers, it is their job to try and keep that provider’s costs to a minimum. The best way for them to do this by avoiding pricy, brand name drugs and instead selling you cheaper generic drugs. PBMs make their money by buying generic drugs in bulk and marking up the prices much higher than what you should be paying. Because of healthcare laws that favor a lack of transparency, PBMs are able to hide the true cost of drugs from you, the consumer. So while the price of prescriptions is causing the inside of your wallet to gather mothballs, PBMs are lining their own wallets with your money.
What can you do about this?
Unfortunately, greater healthcare reform is the best way to rein in the PBMs, but there are still a couple easy and practical steps you can take to lessen the damage that is done to your wallet.
First, use a prescription pricing tool to compare drug costs at various pharmacies. Discount Drug Network has a great pricing tool on our website that will find pharmacies near you and compare their prices on a specific drug.
Secondly, use a discount card to lower your prescription costs. Not only does Discount Drug Network offer a convenient pricing tool, we also have a free card that can give you awesome savings on prescription drugs. The card is free and requires no membership or prior qualifications. Anyone can use it, whether you are insured or not. Even better, the card is accepted at over 66,000 pharmacies across the country and can be used on any drug that is approved by the FDA, including generics and brand names.
Just go to our website to print out your free prescription discount card and tada! You are on the way to ensuring that more of your money stays in your pocket and out of the pockets of pharmacy benefit managers.