Two women were overheard talking about prescription medications for their aging parents. The first woman said, “My dad’s prescriptions were over $2k last month. He is blowing through his savings just paying for drugs.” Her friend showed her how to find the same prescriptions on Amazon for under $100. Learning how to buy prescription drugs outside your health insurance can save thousands of dollars making the effort to understand the prescription medicine game well worth it.

Drug costs in the United States are skyrocketing. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, drug manufacturers may change the list prices of their drugs at any time after launch. Over the period from January 2022 to January 2023, more than 4,200 drug products had price increases, of which 46 percent were larger than the rate of inflation. The average drug price increase throughout the period was 15.2 percent, which translates to $590 per drug product. In 2022, The highest percentage increase was for a drug approved to treat high blood pressure whose price increased more than 35-fold, from a list price of $4.32 to a new price of $158.72.[1]

The pharmaceutical industry makes billions of dollars in profits each year citing research and development costs as the reason for rising costs. Yet a study recently published by the Journal of American Medicine found no connection between how much a drug company spends on research and development for a drug and the drug’s price.[2]  In a study done by Harvard Medical School it is reported that using legal loopholes, some pharmaceutical companies acquire patents for older drugs and then jack up the price. Others have bought or merged with other drugmakers to avoid price competition. [3] 

Most consumers take time to diligently research and shop around for the best prices for most things they purchase. For example, if you were going to purchase a used car you would look at consumer reports, study reviews, check Bluebook prices, and visit different car dealers. But, when it comes to healthcare, it seems the rules are different. Average Americans have been taught not to question medical advice or drug costs. The doctor prescribes a medicine, you go to fill the monthly supply for 12 months and the pharmacist only gives you 30 or 90 days of the drug. They tell you how much it costs after insurance and you pay it thinking you have no choice.

 

Consider MIB Client Kelly’s Story.

Kelly was between insurance plans and had to fill three prescriptions thinking they were affordable because she usually paid $30.00 for the month’s supply of these drugs.

The pharmacist told her the total for the three medications would be $300.  Concerned, she left the prescriptions and called MIB Health Insurance. We were able to find an alternative solution. We downloaded a coupon for the medications and Kelly was able to pick up the prescriptions and pay $30. which is what she paid under her previous plan. She was angry and rightfully so. How can a business charge a customer $300. for a product that should cost $30.?

 

Let’s Analyze Mike’s Story

So, how can a consumer looking to save money on prescription drug costs fight back against the healthcare industry and rising costs of prescription drugs? We can’t boycott. We can’t stop using necessary medications for continued health. We can’t buy them on the streets. What can we do? The healthcare industry is profiting at the expense of patients. We have come to accept that the insurance companies drive our purchasing habits because access to prescription drugs seems limited. But is it really? Let’s look at four practical ways you can take charge of your drug costs.

Four Easy Ways to Save Money on Prescription Drugs

1. Buy in Bulk

How do you save money on necessary household items like toilet paper, and cleaning supplies? Normally we buy items we use often in large quantities at places like Sam’s Club or Costco. We recognize that this amounts to a large savings over one year. This is also true with medications. Most prescription drugs can be purchased in bulk. While insurance companies do not usually allow buying medications in bulk, using alternative resources can help. There may be limitations if the medication is date-sensitive or falls into an addictive category. Buying in bulk can save time and money, especially on expensive prescriptions that are used for ongoing health maintenance.

2. Shop local

In many cases, buying products from smaller local companies can result in higher prices. In the case of prescription drugs, this may not always be true. Building a relationship with a local pharmacy supplier like Smith Pharmacy in Little Chute or Omro Pharmacy just west of Oshkosh can go a long way to saving you money on prescriptions. They often have insight into alternative medications, coupons from manufacturers, and even access to trial drugs you can discuss with your doctor. Getting to know your pharmacist can be a great way to maximize your drug cost savings.

3. Find alternatives

Did you know that there are online pharmacies that can help you reduce drug costs? Amazon Pharmacy and Good RX.com have developed systems that offer alternatives to traditional pharmacies and insurance drug programs. Some local or chain pharmacies may even match the price of the online drug cost if you ask.

4. Don’t use health insurance

It may be counterintuitive that a health insurance broker tells you not to use health insurance but in the case of prescription drugs, we have found that this one move can save an individual hundreds, even thousands, of dollars over one year. It is estimated that 60% of medications filled today can be less expensive when purchased outside of health insurance. You can start lowering your annual health costs by buying your prescriptions outside of your health insurance, getting informed, shopping around, buying in bulk, exploring new prescription drug sources, and building relationships with providers.

Resources

Check out these prescription drug resources so you can be well-informed about rising pharmaceutical prices and how to combat them. If you have questions about how you can save money on prescription drugs, reach out to the experts at MIB Health Insurance. We can help navigate your unique prescription drug situation to save time and money.

Why are Cash Prices Lower than Health Insurance Negotiated Prices?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gebai/2024/04/21/why-are-cash-prices-lower-than-health-insurance-negotiated-prices/?sh=21453691e429

Local Private Fox Cities Pharmacies
https://smithpharmacyrx.com
https://www.omropharmacy.com/

Online Pharmacy Options
www.goodrx.com
https://pharmacy.amazon.com/
https://www.costco.com/home-delivery

Cost Plus Drugs: 15% Markup On Qualifying Prescriptions

SingleCare Manufacturer Coupons

MIB Health Insurance is a family-owned company with a team of caring health insurance professionals in the Fox Cities who want to understand your unique health insurance story. Whether you are an employer, employee, or individual, together we can find the right health insurance solutions for you and your family. The health insurance experts at MIB are committed to providing peace of mind when protecting you and your family. Call an MIB Health Insurance expert at 920-731-2100 to see how health insurance may influence your prescription drug savings and how you might be able to take control of your prescription drug costs.