Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Prescription medications can either be very expensive or very cheap, depending on how you get them.
Through my insurance, I have two ways to get prescription meds. I can go through a pharmacy benefit manager, which is essentially like a mail-order pharmacy, and get a 30- to 90-day supply for very little money compared to the going rate in the marketplace. Or I can go directly to a traditional pharmacy and have my script filled at sometimes exorbitant prices.
For example, I have asthma and one script I take is $700 for a three-month supply. But I only pay $40 through my pharmacy benefit manager. That’s a big difference.
I’ve also talked in the past about trying to lower the cost of your prescriptions by printing out the list of $4 generic meds you can get on the websites of Kroger, Target, Walmart and any of a number of other retailers. Take the list with you to your doctor. Then say, “Can you write my script from this list? This is what I can afford.” Sometimes that will work and other times it won’t.
Now the latest wrinkle is that you also can use the power of a smartphone to figure out where to find the cheapest deal on prescriptions meds. There’s a smartphone app called LowestMed Mobile available for both the iPhone and Androids that lets you just pop in the name of the medication and it will shop the marketplace for you to tell you who has the best price in your area.
The thing is, a pharmaceutical company may have a deal with a particular pharmacy based on volume that could make your script a lot cheaper at one place versus the pharmacy where you normally go. This app gives you the opportunity to see the best deal on your prescription. Visit LowestMed.com for more information.
-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs
Find more answers to your consumer questions at ClarkHoward.com. Listen to his radio show live 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.