What Are Prescription Discount Programs?

Published December 2nd, 2019 by USA Rx
Fact Checked by
Chris Riley

WhatArePrescriptionDiscountProgramsAt some point in the life of nearly every American, some medication is going to be taken. Most Americans are lucky in that the need for medicine is just a temporary expense. If you’re diagnosed with an illness, some antibiotics might be prescribed to cure it. If you’re just out of surgery, painkillers can help to make recovery more comfortable. However, once you’re done, you no longer need the medicine, and so your spending stops.

For other Americans, however, it doesn’t always work this way. While some afflictions or conditions are temporary, others, once diagnosed, have no cure and may need to be managed for the rest of a life. Heart conditions, or diabetes, for example, are conditions where regular access to medicine is now a requirement, to avoid put-ting health at risk and living a certain quality of life.

According to the statistics, the average American will spend about $1200 per year towards medication. Some Americans will benefit from a comprehensive medical insurance program, with features like “co-pay” where the insurance policy subsidizes the prices of medication by providing some of the money towards the purchase. Others are in the upper class will be wealthy enough that the price of medication will never be a major expense, and so barely factors into their finances.

Of course, not every American is fortunate enough to have extensive medical insurance coverage or be rich, so spending thousands of dollars every year on medication can be a big hit to the finances. Fortunately, there are ways to help mitigate these costs, and one of them is using prescription discount programs.

What Are Discount Programs?

Prescription discount programs have a few different methods of access. The most popular is known as a prescription network. This is usually some organization that has worked out a deal with a pharmacy benefits manager, or a PMB. PMBs are the “middlemen” of the pharmacy industry, as they have the knowledge of the products, the pricing, and the industry, and act as the conduit between the pharmaceutical manufacturers that create the medication, and the hospitals and pharmacies that need to buy it. PMBs broker the deals, prices an amounts between these two groups.

Because of this unique position that PMBs have, it is very easy to approach them to strike an arrangement, and let them create a deal that pharmaceuticals can agree to. This means that if a group decides to medication in bulk, this larger purchase allows the PMBs to negotiate a lower price, and that lower price is subsequently turned into savings that can be presented as discounts, or even discount coupons that people can use to pay lower prices.

How To Find A Prescription Network

Prescription networks come in many forms, so people interested in finding and joining one just have to look at the place they live in, and other possible qualifiers. One of the easiest prescription networks to join are those created by big businesses themselves. Both Walmart and Walgreens, as two examples, have a prescription network where, upon joining, you get a discount card that entitles you to lower prices on select medications at the respective outlets. However, there are some differences between the two. The Walmart prescription network is free to join, while the Walgreens prescription network requires a $20 membership fee be paid out every year, or if it’s a family membership, $35.

Of course, it’s not just companies that create prescription networks. Depending on the area you live in, there may be municipal, state, or even federal options for joining a prescription network. Sometimes these networks have specific qualifying characteristics, such as living within a particular area.

Getting Financial Assistance

WhatArePrescriptionDiscountProgramsSome prescription networks are the result of government initiatives designed to help Americans experiencing financial difficulties in meeting their medical obligations. For people who are lower middle class or low-er-income, it can sometimes be nearly impossible to meet monthly financial requirements and still find some spare money to buy necessary medication.

These prescription networks look at income, or other qualifying factors, such as the presence of disabled or sick children and award discounts based on these needs. The discounts from financial assistance prescription discount programs can sometimes mean the difference between medication costing hundreds of dollars, or just $4. So for people with medical conditions or other family members that have urgent need for regular medication access, try looking into these programs.

The Alternative Prescription Discount Programs

, it’s not just the government or the big companies that have worked out arrangements with PMBs. Other groups have negotiated their pricing and arrangements that let them pass these savings onto members of the network. One group is the USA Rx website, and it has some unique benefits that differentiate it from some of the other programs.

USA Rx is brand agnostic, which is very different from the Walmart and Walgreens programs. Both of those programs are retail-specific, so your Walmart discount card only applies to purchases made at a Walmart outlet, and the same goes for Walgreens discount cards. This means Walmart shoppers get a discount at 11000+ possible locations throughout the country, and Walgreen shoppers have coverage in about 9000 outlets. If there’s a smaller, independent pharmacy in your area, those cards do you no good.

On the other hand, the Rx card is recognized in all 50 states, so even Hawaiians and Alaskans can benefit. It totals over 60000 pharmacies around the country that honor the card, and that also includes larger retail chains, and smaller, independent pharmacies that may be closer to home. If you’re interested in getting this card, all you have to do is go online to the USA Rx website and sign up. You can either print out the card on the website and start using it immediately, or download it to your phone and show that upon purchase. Either way, you’ll enjoy discounts from 10-75% off.

So even if you’re not covered by an extensive medical insurance policy, you’ve still got some options to explore t help you save money. Medications can get expensive over the long haul, so be smart and save where you can.

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