How I Saved 90% on Prescription MedicationSubmitted by Levy, Daniel & McGee Wealth Management on July 13th, 2020
Before I share my story of how I saved 90% on my one and only prescription medication, I want to start off with a bit of a rant. There are parts of our health care system that badly need fixing. This account illustrates one such area. As you will read, my savings started with several complaints to my insurance company about the cost of my medication. I had to be willing to call the insurance company, know what to say, and how to say it. Ultimately, the monthly cost of my prescription went from $240 per month down to $23 per month. It absolutely drives me insane that I had to go through what I did in order to reduce the price. There are so many people in our society, from the elderly to the non-confrontational to non-English speaking to those without internet access, who may not be able to accomplish what I did. As a result, they might end up paying the highest possible retail sticker price for their prescription drugs, and that just isn’t right. So, in an effort to help you reduce your medical expenses, here is my story.
My wife and I recently changed insurance plans. About three weeks ago, she walked into a local pharmacy to pick up a refill of my cholesterol medication. My wife was shocked to find out the price, through our new insurance company, was $240 per month. Ouch. She walked out without my medication because I had a one week supply remaining.
Later that day, I called the insurance company and complained. I explained that I tried numerous other cholesterol medications and had various reactions to them. As a result, I was adamant this particular medication was the best for me. Eventually, the service representative told me to have my doctor send a “preauthorization” to the insurance company and my case would be reviewed. I did. The following day, I received an automated phone call indicating my medication was approved and would be ready at the pharmacy. Again, my wife went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription. There, she was told the reduced cost would be $130 per month. That was still far higher than what we had been paying, so she walked out without my medicine. When I was told what happened, I was happy my wife was counting our pennies, but started to wonder just how low of price tag she put on me.
For the second time in two days, I called the insurance company to protest the cost. A very polite person tried to convince me the insurance company was graciously picking up almost fifty-percent of the cost and that was as low as the price could go. I continued to push, saying the monthly cost to me was still unacceptable and that I planned to shop for other insurance providers. Only then, did representative suggest I order the prescription online through an online company with which they work. That, I was told, would reduce the cost to $40 per month. Rather than being happy, the late-coming disclosure ticked me off. I asked why this alternative was not presented at the very beginning. Doing a bit of a back step, the representative replied this information was provided somewhere within the mounds of paperwork I received when I signed up.
Since I was unhappy this low cost option was not provided to me already, I told the representative that I was going to research other possibilities. Using an internet search engine, I entered the name of my medication along with terms like “for sale” and “prescription”. One of the first websites that appeared was for an online company that worked with many of the major insurance providers and pharmacies. Its advertising stated that I could become one of its members without cost or obligation. Then, as a member, I would be able to get my medication for only $23 per month. What I had to do was have my prescription at a local pharmacy, pay online, then pick up my medication in-person using my membership card which would be sent to me via email. It worked perfectly. The only hiccup was the pharmacy technician had never handled a transaction through this online company. Fortunately, the pharmacist was familiar with the process and took care of everything professionally and efficiently.
Since I do not want this story to be construed as a blanket recommendation for any particular website, I will not share the company I chose to use. Any savings on medications, if at all, will vary. There are numerous online resources that may work for you. Some of the providers that appeared in my search, and you may want to consider, are Blink Health, Express Scripts, GoodRx, Planet Drug Direct, Refillwise.com, among others. Do your own research and ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice. The internet is driving down prices of many products and service, including healthcare. Take advantage of it. If technology intimidates you, have someone you know and trust lend you a hand. Do some research, be informed, be aggressive, and hopefully, you will be able to lower your medical expenses.
Ken Levy is a financial advisor with, and securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. Alternative investments may not be suitable for all investors and should be consider as an investment for the risk capital portion of the investor’s portfolio. Contact: 2111 W. Kettleman Lane, Ste. C, Lodi, CA 95242 or 209-263-0330.