Published January 1st, 2020 by Stephanie
Most Americans will have to take a long, hard look at their budget for the week, the month, and the year, and then find a way to make limited funds last for a person or a family, and, with any luck, still manage to put away a little something for the future. This is always going to be a challenge for most of us since we’re not billionaires, and it’s very easy to lose all that money in one bad accident, one poor investment decision, or one impulsive binge with a credit card can incur massive debt.
But while there are some luxuries or treats that we can exercise a bit of discipline on, and reduce our consumption, there are other things that are fixed expenses we have to spend money on. The bills for water and electricity are one. Car payments if a loan was taken out, or the mortgage on a home, or, at the very least, rent. And then there is prescription medication.
Retail off-the-shelf medication is not very powerful and, because of that, not very expensive. But once we get into the realm of prescription medications that can only be taken on the advice of a medical professional, this is where the costs can jump up considerably. These more powerful medications, such as antibiotics, painkillers, and life-saving drugs like insulin, can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars.
While that’s significant, it can be managed, albeit grudgingly, for short term spending, such as getting treated for an illness and requiring medication to recover. Once recovery occurs, so does the spending, so this is a short term investment, however pricey it might be. Unfortunately, the equation changes dramatically for a person diagnosed with a permanent condition. A heart condition, for example, is there to stay, and that means that for the remainder of a person’s life, there will always be a need for that medication. If we look at a child who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, then an entire lifetime of needing insulin will mean having an additional expense to take into account for decades, and that price can make a huge impact on financial planning.
One thing many consumers don’t realize is that pharmacies are not beholden to any particular laws about their pricing. Whereas countries like Canada have laws in place that require Canadian pharmacies to ensure life-saving medications like insulin are always accessible and affordable, the USA has no such law, which is why a typical dose in Canada will cost USD$22, while the same dosage in the USA may be USD$300, causing many Americans living near the border to buy their medication in another country.
However, because of this ability for pharmacies to charge as much as they want, it also means that they can charge as little. This means that even within a single city, there can be a huge variance in medication pricing for a pharmacist in an affluent neighborhood, versus one that is trying to help out residents in a lower-income area. This means that if you’re not happy with the pricing at the pharmacy that is nearest you, there’s a chance that somewhere out there, another pharmacy is charging lower prices, perhaps even significantly lower.
In the old days, people that were smart enough to comparison shop at different pharmacies had to do much research. It often meant either visiting these outlets and inquiring about pricing or conducting a survey by phone, asking each outlet about their prices, and then lining up those comparisons to arrive a conclusion about where the best, lowest pricing was.
Now, this type of smart shopping has entered the 21st century with a prescription savings app. Functionally, it does exactly what the old investigative techniques used to do, compiling the listings of prices for medication from different areas. However, the best part of a prescription savings app is that it no longer requires you to do a lot of research and investigation. All you have to do is load up the app, give your location, enter the medication that you’re interested in, and a database that is periodically updated to remain current will show you the pricing of most of the pharmacies in your area, so you can instantly start comparing prices, and making a decision about where you want to go to make your purchase.
One thing to keep in mind, though is that different prescription savings apps will contain different information. That’s not to say the prices will be hugely different from one app to another, but some apps may not include the same pharmacies as another app, so it always pays to keep your options open and consult a few different ones to get the broadest reach of data.
While there are plenty of good apps already on the market, USA Rx is now ready to help our customers with an app of our own that’s ready to install on your smartphone or other portable computing device. The USA Rx website is already a trusted name with both customers and the thousands of pharmacies around the country that are affiliated with our program. But in September, we took things a step further and creates a new prescription savings app to help people be smarter with their money, but still get access to the medication they need to lead productive lives.
As with other apps, the USA Rx mobile app is free and lets you search, review and compare the prices of prescription medication at leading discount pharmacies in your neighborhood. You can pull out your phone and see the savings right in the palm of your hand. Then, once you’re ready for even more savings, you can use your phone again to show your USA Rx discount card, or print it out and present the card to a pharmacist when you’re ready to make your purchase for an even bigger discount.
A combination of smart shopping with a prescription savings app and the use of a good discount card can have a big impact on your medication savings.