Prescription Services – How Do They Work? Are They for You?
By Jasen Gilbert CFP® and Judith Alexander-Wasley MBA, CFP®
Rising prescription prices have been absorbed by many individuals relying on medications for managing a condition or disease state. Whether for lowering cholesterol, managing diabetes, controlling high blood pressure, or preventing blood clotting, the most common means for obtaining medications has been through one’s health insurance coverage, including Medicare and the affiliated drug plans. These transactions typically take place at the drug store, in-store pharmacy at a grocery or variety store, or through mail order.
In the recent past, several prescription services have become available that offer pricing alternatives, over the insurance offering, for one’s medications. The names of these services may include GoodRx, RxSaver, SingleCare, US Pharmacy Card, among others, and may warrant investigation as to whether the pricing for medications through them is more favorable compared to the pricing of the same medication, through one’s health insurance.
Insurance companies negotiate pricing for any products needed by their insured client base.
Alternatively, prescription services offer pricing they’ve secured through partnerships with pharmaceutical companies or with pharmacy benefit management companies. The results of these negotiated partnerships may mean a lower price to the consumer, for whom the medication is prescribed. Many of these services tout significant savings over the quoted amount obtainable through insurance.
How do Insurance-Alternative Prescription Services Work?
Most of them offer access to coupons or discounts aligned with pharmacy chains in the vicinity of the consumer. These savings can be accessed either through a mobile app or through a website by entering the drug name and your zip code. It’s through this means that pricing comparisons can be made relative to the price one would pay if obtaining the prescription through their health insurance drug plan.
How Does This Affect My Health Insurance? What about My Deductible?
Interestingly, these insurance-alternative services offer point-of-service transactions with the consumer such that you pay in cash or charge and present the coupon, and the entire transaction takes place without involving your health insurance provider. Because of this, the cost of the medication is NOT applied to your annual health insurance deductible.
Each family has unique health insurance circumstances, prescription costs, and the ability to satisfy the annual deductible; therefore, it’s important to discuss any healthcare cost concerns with your advisor to understand your situation and whether the potential savings of obtaining prescriptions through one of these alternative services may be beneficial to you.
In line with the slogan for one of them, you may want to “check it out!”
Investment advisory services offered through Ciccarelli Advisory Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser independent of FSC Securities Corporation. Securities and additional investment advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC and a registered investment adviser. 9601 Tamiami Trail North, Naples, FL. 239-262-6577.