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Why Prescription Drugs Are Cheaper Without Insurance

Have you ever gone to fill a prescription and been told your insurance isn’t covering it, only to find out the cash price is way less than your copay would have been? It’s crazy, but it happens more often than you’d think. Pharmacy benefit managers work with drug companies and pharmacies to negotiate lower prices for people with insurance. But those deals often mean higher list prices for the rest of us. The good news is, there are ways to make sure you’re getting the best price on your drugs, with or without insurance. Keep reading to find out why your prescriptions can sometimes cost less if you skip the insurance and pay cash, plus tips for saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year on the medications you need.

Prescription Drug Prices Are Often Inflated for Insurance Companies

Have you ever noticed that the cash price for your Prescription Drugs Are Cheaper than your insurance co-pay? It’s not just your imagination. Prescription drug prices are often inflated for insurance companies.

  • Drug manufacturers will charge insurance companies more since they know the insurance will cover most of the cost. They take advantage of the extra money available from insurance plans.
  • The inflated prices mean higher premiums for you and other policyholders to cover the costs. And when there’s a deductible, you end up paying more out of pocket until you meet it.

What can you do? Don’t be afraid to ask your pharmacist for the cash price of your prescriptions, especially if you have a high deductible plan. You might be pleasantly surprised at the lower cost. Other tips to save:

How to Pay Less for Prescription Drugs

Check for Discounts Directly

Many major pharmacy chains like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid offer discount programs for people without insurance. Ask your pharmacist about prescription savings clubs they accept. These clubs, like GoodRx and SingleCare, offer coupons and discount cards for most common medications. Some even have mobile apps you can check for the best price at pharmacies in your area before filling a prescription.

Compare Prices

Just because you don’t have insurance doesn’t mean you have to pay the full retail price for your meds. Shop around at different pharmacies to compare prices for the best deal. Walmart, for example, offers many common generic drugs for as little as $4. Even smaller independent pharmacies may offer lower prices to win your business. Don’t forget to check mail order pharmacies as well, which often have very competitive pricing.

Buy Generics

Generic drugs have the same active ingredients as brand name drugs but cost significantly less. According to the FDA, generics can cost up to 80-85% less than their name brand counterparts. Always ask your doctor if a generic version is available and appropriate as an alternative. The generic has to meet the same standards as the brand name drug, so you can trust it will work the same.

Pay Cash Instead of Using a Credit Card

Some pharmacies charge higher prices if you’re paying with a credit card versus paying cash. The pharmacy has to pay credit card processing fees for each transaction, so they may pass some of that cost onto customers. Paying with cash, check or a debit card can help you save a few extra dollars per prescription.

By shopping smarter, comparing prices, using discount programs and paying cash when possible, you can get the medications you need without breaking the bank. Don’t let a lack of insurance coverage prevent you from filling important prescriptions. With some patience and persistence, you can find affordable solutions.

Work With A Benefits Provider For The Best Advice

If you’re not sure how to lower your prescription drug costs or whether or not you should be paying cash, consider working with the team at Primary Care Insurance Solutions. We can help you navigate the complex waters of prescription drugs and insurance claims.


Contact us today to learn more about your options. 


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