Friday, June 26, 2009

Rx for Prescriptions

I remember spending nights with my grandparents (who lived next door--it was a SMALL town) and being freaked out at the number of medications lined up on their bathroom shelf.

That was a long time ago, and I'm now the grandparent, and yes, there is a shelf full of prescription medicines in my bathroom.

Not that I'm complaining.

The fact that I have taken blood pressure and cholestrol medications for the past ten years means that I was in good shape for my heart surgery in March, and contributed to my fast recovery. The medications I take regularly for diabetes are necessary for continued longevity.

But it's a darn good thing I have insurance and only have to pay a $10 co-pay for my prescriptions, because I take five different medications each day.

Lately, I've been searching for ways to reduce those costs. I already pay my co-pays with tax-free dollars since I have a flex medical account. But what other savings might there be?

As it turns out, I had to look no further than my HMO pharmacy. To go into the clinic monthly costs $10 per prescription, not to mention the time loss. But if I buy a 90 day supply of each medicine, I can do that for $27 per prescription plus make 66% fewer visits to the pharmacy.

But wait--there's more!

If I order by mail or over the internet, I can get a 90 day supply of each medicine shipped to me for $20 per prescription. (The package is pretty large--it probably does NOT make my mailman happy.)

Don't have an HMO? Maybe, don't have insurance?

Wal-Mart runs a cost-effective program for the most-used prescriptions. I checked their list of $4 medications, and it includes every one of mine with one exception (I was initially prescribed the most common blood pressure medication, but 10% of users develop a really loud and annoying cough. Wouldn't you know it, Grace is in that 10%). Wal-Mart also provides an additional discount for the purchase of a 90 day supply ($10) bringing the cost of common drugs down to $3.33 a prescription.

I'm not the biggest fan of Wal-Mart, but you can't beat those prices.

I know that I will, at a minimum, start getting my prescriptions by mail. I haven't decided if I will (or even if I can) forego the HMO pharmacy in favor of Wal-Mart.

In the meantime, I will hope that I don't ever contract the infection that a close friend of mine recently did--the drug that ultimately knocked out the bacterium cost her $495. And that WAS the CO-PAY!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In addition to Wal Mart, CVS and Walgreen's offers the same 90 day RX plan for $9.99 (that's $3.33 for every 30 day prescription).

I opted for the CVS plan and get my meds for the $3.33. I take 3 pills a day for arthritis, high cholesterol and pain (the latter is optional and I take it when only necessary). By choosing this option, I lowered my monthly medical insurance costs by $90 per month, which is $1080 per year! This is big money, I'm talking about.

I'd like to personally thank Wal Mart, CVS and Walgreen for starting these programs. One can only imagine what is going to happen to all of us once the govt steps in? Free enterprise keeps the costs low. The bargains are out there. We just have to look.

CVS posts a monthly generic list of meds that they cover. I bring that list with me when I see a doctor. If I need a med, he/she simply chooses one from the list.

PS: I get my eyes examined at Wal Mart for only $45. As an ex-optician, I can vouch that the drs at my Wal Mart do an excellent job. I get my bifocal lenses for only $36 and a frame for only $20. Wal Mart is supposed to be opening up low cost clinics nationwide. I hope to God they do. I also go to a local dentist who does NOT accept any insurance. Because of this, his prices are soooooo reasonable. Yesterday, he took care of 2 cavities, with novacaine and it only cost me $128. I was so grateful. I don't want to neglect my teeth nor my vision.

My main medical coverage is an HMO.