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How to Save Money at the Pharmacy

Manufacturer's Coupons

Manufacturer's coupons can save you quite a bit of money, especially on expensive drugs. How do they work? Not at all like grocery store coupons. Essentially, your pharmacist treats them exactly like an insurance card. The coupon provides information for your pharmacist to submit the claim electronically.
Most of the time, coupons work along with your insurance (the claim is first submitted to your insurance, then to the manufacturer's coupon). Some work even for people without insurance. By law, none work in combination with Medicare, Medicaid, or any other federally funded program.
Be sure to read the fine print because often this is deceptive. For instance, the large print may promise a specific price ("Only $25!") while the small print limits the amount the coupon will cover, which could leave you paying much more than $25. Some coupons require you, as the patient, to register ahead of time. Some coupons are for one-time use only, while others can be used as often as you'd like until they expire.
Understand that because these coupons are submitted like an insurance claim, there is no way to get around the limitations. If it says you can only use it once, there's no way you'll be able to use it twice, even if you use it at a different pharmacy.

Discount Cards

You know those cards you get unsolicited in the mail, in magazines or newspapers, and practically everywhere you turn? These are discount cards. They can help you save money, but only in certain situations.
In order to help figure out if you might benefit, you need to understand how these cards work. The pharmacist treats them exactly like insurance cards. But, unlike insurance, the pharmacy won't get any money for the claim from the insurance company. Instead, the pharmacy agrees to the lower negotiated prices in order to be a "network" pharmacy.
As an example, say the full price of a prescription is $50. A discount card may reduce that price, for instance, to $30. The pharmacy only gets your $30 and nothing from the discount card, minus whatever processing fees the discount card charges.
Some pharmacies don't accept discount cards, and it's easy to see why. However, many will happily accept these cards -- even though it means less money for them -- in an effort to serve their customers.
Please understand that discount cards can be used only for prescriptions that are not covered by insurance. They cannot be used in combination with insurance. And, believe it or not, because of the processing fee, sometimes the price of the medication is actually higher with a discount card. Most pharmacists will notice this and fix it for you by not applying the discount card.
Here at eMedTV, we have partnered with several major pharmaceutical companies in order to provide you with savings on many popular brand-name prescription drugs. Click here to find out more and to sign up.
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