Published March 24th, 2020 by Stephanie
Few Americans get through life without needing to take medicine at some point. Most people, however, encounter medicine as a temporary expense. Paying for off-the-shelf medication to manage a cold or being given a prescription by a doctor to help manage pain after surgery is the most common example of a temporary expense.
But for others, medication may be more specialized and, ultimately, far more expensive. A painkiller only required for discomfort after surgery may be pricey, but it’s no longer required beyond a certain period. Someone with a digestive condition, such as acid reflux or a blood sugar disorder like diabetes, needs regular access to medication either for comfort, or simply to stay alive.
Unfortunately, a medication that is already expensive can take a huge toll on finances if it’s an ongoing expense. For people who aren’t wealthy, the addition of medicine can hurt the ability to save for the future, or even make ends meet every month.
There is help, however, and it comes in the form of a medicine discount card. Here’s what it can do for you if you need regular access to medication.
For financial help with medication, most people are familiar with either health benefits provided by some companies to employees or investing in health insurance. Health insurance has forms of assistance like copay, where the insurance provider pays part of the total cost of medication, thus subsidizing purchases. While these may be desirable solutions for many, it’s not practical to rely on getting a job with these benefits or being able to afford the type of health insurance policy that offers subsidies.
This is where a medicine discount card can play a helpful role in medical expenses. The name says it all, with a medicine discount card providing a lower price on medications when presented. All you have to do is take the card and show it to the pharmacist when it’s time to get more prescription medication. The card is taken, process and the discount is applied, so a certain percentage of the normal price is removed.
Depending on the medication and the card being used, discounts may be as little as 5% off, or as significant as 75% or more off the normal purchase price.
One question people may have is why medicine discount cards are even allowed at all. After all, a pharmacy is a business, and that means the priority is on making a profit. Lower medicine prices seem to run counter to that, so how is it a good idea? On the consumer side, medicine discount cards are good marketing. Even if a pharmacy loses money on a purchase not made at full price, if a discount card entices more shoppers, or allows people to buy other items at the outlet besides medicine, or even allows shoppers to purchase a medication that otherwise couldn’t be afforded at all, it helps the business. That’s an indirect way of increasing profits in other areas or attracting more customers for more business.
On the business side, pharmacies don’t lose as much money as you think. There’s a special group of experts and organizations in the pharmaceutical industry known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers or PMBs. PMBs are, in one sense, “middlemen,” who sit in between the pharmaceutical manufacturers, the doctors that prescribe medication, and the pharmacies that sell medication. They work closely with al three, monitoring the industry and market climates, finding out what pharmaceuticals are making, and where doctors see the greatest need and negotiating with all three to provide the medication that everyone needs at prices everyone can agree with.
A medicine discount card is part of a larger program by a business or other organization that usually involves medication and “buying in bulk,” in large numbers. Because the volume of the purchase is so large, the affiliate program gets a better price on these drugs, and those savings are passed onto the cardholders if they choose to use that affiliate program.
One thing people have to be careful of when thinking about getting a medicine discount card is making sure the card is right for your needs. Different cards will offer different discounts on medication, so while one card may offer a 5% discount for a painkiller you need, another may offer 50%, and that makes a huge difference.
Accessibility may also be another concern for some people. Some cards are limited in their usages, such as the discount cards offered by larger retail chains like Walmart and Walgreens. In the case of these cards, they are only valid at outlets of the chain itself. So while both Walmart and Walgreens have outlets all over the country, this does limit you from purchasing medication at other pharmacies. Other discount cards allow for the cardholder to get discounts at any pharmacy that has agreed to join the affiliate program. This may mean large chains as well as smaller ones.
A final consideration is the cost of the card. In the best-case scenario, you’ll find a card that meets your needs and is free. Not all cards are like this, unfortunately. Walgreens card, as one example, has a yearly membership feed that needs to be renewed annually to keep the card valid.
For people that are researching which medicine discount card is the right one for them, they should consider the one offered by the USA Rx website. It’s a free card, so there are no extra fees or investments required, and it’s not fixed to only one retail outlet. The USA Rx card is affiliated with over 60,000 pharmacies in every state of the USA, including Hawaii and Alaska.
If you’re interested in this card, all you have to do is go to the website and sign up. You don’t need to wait for a card to be mailed to you, printing out the card from the website is sufficient for validation. If you want to save paper, you don’t even have to take that step. Just save the image of the card to your phone and show it to a pharmacist when you’re ready to make your purchase.
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