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3 little-known ways to save money on prescriptions

3 little-known ways to save money on prescriptions
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I’ve been through the pharmacy gauntlet before. I’ve wrangled with insurance, dug around for coupons and asked about generics. But it doesn’t have to be an all-out struggle. There are ways technology can help you save money on the medications you need.

We're aiming to avoid the stress of sticker shock at the pharmacy, so we've found apps and websites that will hopefully save you some bucks when you fill your next prescription.

It’s a good idea to compare between different prescription-savings services. You may find one offers a better deal than another on your particular medication.

The prices through these sources may also end up costing less than your regular health insurance copay, so be sure to check your insurance details.

GoodRx can save money on prescriptions through its website or app

GoodRx is available as both a website and as an app for iOS and Android. You can access it by whichever method is most convenient, but we’ll focus on the free app, which has garnered a lot of positive reviews from users.

GoodRx promises to save you up to 80% on your prescription drug costs, but that’s on the optimistic side of the scale. The app asks you to look up your medication by name or by the type of condition. It also suggests popular searches, with cholesterol drug Lipitor appearing at the top in my app. We’ll use Lipitor as our comparison point for these different apps and websites.

Once you select a drug, you can set the form, dosage and quantity, and your location. Tap on the "Find the lowest price" button and you’re off and running.

GoodRx delivered prices for 30 tablets of generic Lipitor that ranged from $5.94 (with coupon) all the way up to $124 (cash price) in my area. Tapping on the price/coupon button takes you right to a saveable coupon you can redeem at the pharmacy.

The GoodRx results show how much prescription prices can vary. In this case, the cheapest option near me was from a grocery store chain I hadn’t even thought about.

 

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RetailMeNot RxSaver offers tons of online prescription coupons

RetailMeNot is a juggernaut when it comes to online coupons. It has a specialty sub-site called RxSaver that is designed to compare prices and steer you to the best deal on prescriptions.

To use the website, just search for the name of your drug and make sure the location is accurate. Again using Lipitor as an example, I found prices for the generic ranging from $7.88 on up to $30.45 in my area.

The site steered me towards coupons, and also to online ordering options when available. The lowest price came in just a hair higher than that delivered by the GoodRx app, but it was very close.

The RxSaver website is simple to use and nicely laid out, but you can also try out the free app for iOS and Android. The app is just as straightforward as the website and it puts the coupons right at your fingertips for easy access at the pharmacy.

 

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Let Blink Health do the negotiating for you

Blink Health is an intriguing service. The company says it has negotiated prices on over 15,000 medications and it offers a price-match guarantee on generics. You have the option of picking your prescription up from a local pharmacy or having it delivered.

At one time, Blink Health had deals in place with Walgreens and CVS, but those chains no longer work with Blink. Walmart, Albertsons, Safeway, Kroger and a number of independent pharmacies and regional chains are still on board and allow you to get your Blink prescriptions locally.

As with GoodRx and RxSaver, I ran the price on Lipitor. Blink Health offered up a $4.99 price on 30 tablets with free home delivery as the best option. It also showed an $8.93 price at local pharmacies, or a slightly discounted $7.59 deal if I were to go to one particular independent pharmacy near me.

Based on the Lipitor example, Blink Health slims in with the lowest price, though both GoodRx and RxSaver are extremely competitive.

Saving money on prescriptions with these apps and websites comes with a big caveat: your mileage may vary. What you ultimately end up paying will depend on your insurance coverage, your location, the type of drug and whether it’s available as a generic.

The good news is it doesn’t hurt to run the numbers. You just might end up saving a healthy bundle of bucks.

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