Discount prescription drug plans are easy and viable solutions for individuals without the prescription drug coverage traditionally included with medical insurance plans. While rates and coverage varies from one plan to the next, some basic elements remain in operation.
How They Work
When a doctor prescribes a medication to a patient, the patient takes the script to his local pharmacy and presents the discount card in lieu of his medical insurance. When he picks up his prescription, the discount is reflected in his total.
Pharmacies can choose to be a part of, or opt out of certain prescription discount plans. Before selecting a plan, a consumer should explore whether or not his preferred community pharmacy has opted into the program.
Most discount prescription plans charge the consumer a monthly fee. This can vary from as little as $20 to over $50 per month. In some cases, employers will sponsor prescription drug plans for employees, thereby reducing the monthly fee. This is deducted from the employee’s paycheck along with any medical insurance coverage they have already selected, but is still not considered medical coverage. However, as part of a group plan, the monthly fee might be less.
Discounts on prescription plans can be tricky to figure out. Some plans only offer discounts through specific pharmaceutical companies, others offer discounts only on generic drugs. On average, discounts range from 30 to 50 percent off the retail price of the drug, but it may be necessary for a consumer to have several different cards in the event he is taking several medications from several different pharmaceutical companies; this, is dictated by the specific plan.
Use with Medical Insurance
By and large, consumers are not able to combine a prescription discount plan with medical insurance provided for drug coverage. They will have to select one or the other.
When selecting a discount prescription plan, it’s necessary to weigh the cost benefits against the expense before signing up. For example, if a consumer rarely takes medication, paying $30 a month into a prescription drug program might not be beneficial if he only takes one prescription per year. He needs to consider his current health and well-being and the potential for that to deteriorate as well. When researching prescription plans, it’s essential to note the discounts offered by the program, specifics of the program costs and what is covered, and then he must compare that against other discount programs on the market. Many times, a consumer might be better off using a personal or employer sponsored Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending account to pay for prescriptions throughout the year than he would by using a discount plan.