Published September 9th, 2019 by Stephanie
Medicine can do many things for us. For some, it is a comfort, or convenience, such as the allergy medicine taken during the height of the season to avoid itches, rashes, and sniffles. For others, however, it may be a life-saving routine that allows a person not just to stay healthy, but stay alive.
Because of the role that medicine plays in our lives, it’s not free, and it’s not cheap. But different Americans have different situations when it comes to the affordability of medicine. Some people only need medicine on those rare occasions when they are sick, or have a surgical procedure at the hospital, but otherwise, medication spending doesn’t have much impact on their lives. Others are diagnosed with medical conditions that will last the rest of their lifetime, such as diabetes, or a heart problem. For these people, medication has now become a lifelong requirement, which also requires a significant lifelong financial commitment.
The ongoing cost of medication can have a huge financial impact on those that are not wealthy. Some may get around this by being lucky enough to have a full-time job with benefits like comprehensive medical insurance coverage. For those who don’t, however, that doesn’t mean struggling to pay full price on vital medication. There are ways to save, and one of the best is to get the best prescription drug discount card for your needs. But what is this, and how can it help?
A prescription discount card is a special document that is usually presented at the point of purchase for medication. As the name suggests, the card should entitle the holder to a discount, so the final price they pay is less than what the normal retail price at that outlet would be. Discounts, however, are not universal, so not all drugs will necessarily qualify for a discount, and even those drugs that are and aren’t eligible for discounts will vary from card to card. So, as one rough example, while one discount card might offer a price reduction on inhaled corticosteroids for asthma treatment, another might not.
The ways that people get prescription drug discount cards vary. People who want them may, depending on where they live have both retail and government options for securing discount cards. Most will also have access to national-level online options, but much of this depends on personal circumstances.
As the biggest retailer in America, it’s not a surprise that Walmart also has programs in place for its shoppers. While they didn’t start this way, eventually Walmart opened up a pharmacy department in their outlets, so now, in addition to groceries, consumer electronics and clothing, shoppers can also buy their medicine here too.
Walmart offers a prescription drug discount card that is valid in any of the 11000+ branches of the retailer around the country. So if you happen to live near a Walmart, and this is your primary source of shopping and filling prescriptions for medications, it may make sense to you to get this card. As a bonus, it’s free!
While Walmart is not exactly known for its expertise in the pharmaceutical field, Walgreens is. This chain of stores is, first and foremost, all about fulfilling prescriptions on medications for customers, and they’ve been in the business of doing so for over 100 years. So when it comes to drugs, and experience pharmacists, this is a trusted name in America, and is the second-largest pharmaceutical business in the country.
Walgreens has over 9300 outlets around the country, and if you get a discount card with them, then, similar to the Walmart card, the discount will only apply if you are shopping at an outlet belonging to the company itself. Neither Walgreens nor Walmart discounts will apply if you try to buy your medication at a small, independent, corner pharmacy in which the owner is also the operator. Unlike the Walmart card, the Walgreens card is not free, and has a $20 fee for individuals per year, while families can get the same card for $35 annually.
Depending on where you live, and your financial situation, it’s possible that you may qualify for prescription discount cards through government programs designed to assist residents. In some cases, these programs will be targeted at people with specific income levels, such as lower middle class, or lower class.
In other instances, it may be specific medical conditions or members of a family that make qualification possible. For example, a disabled child, or a senior citizen with a chronic condition in a family may qualify for programs, discounts, or discount cards to allow that family to pay lower prices on medication.
There are also online options, such as the USA Rx website, provide prescription drug discount cards. In the case of USA Rx, despite only being an online affiliate program, the card itself is free, requires no membership, and is recognized at over 60000 pharmacies throughout the country, including Alaska and Hawaii.
Also, there’s a huge range of different medications covered by the card, so, depending on which drugs you’re interested in, there may be anywhere from a 10-75% discount applied to your final price before making the purchase. Because it’s online, all you have to do is either print out the discount card and present it to your pharmacist, or download the image into your phone to save paper, and present that image on your phone when it comes time to redeem it for the discount.
Of course, the final arbiter for which is the best prescription drug discount card for you depends entirely on your medical and personal circumstances. If you live too far away from a Walmart, but a Walgreens is nearby, then the Walgreens discount card makes sense. If you see the discount on a Walgreen card for your medication is not as large as the one you’d get with a USA Rx card, then that’s the card you should go with. Whichever one improves your spending situation or quality of life is the one that’s right for you.