Making Ends Meet: Shopping around to save on prescriptions

Published: February 15, 2021 7:36 PM EST
Updated: February 17, 2021 3:58 PM EST

Tammy Gilbert is self-employed, working as a real estate broker. Gilbert and her husband recently relocated to the Cape full-time and right now, she’s the sole provider. That means they make every penny count.

“Since my husband’s been sick, we have to watch money very carefully,” Gilbert said.

From gas prices to groceries, the Gilberts comparison shop, and recently, they added prescriptions to the list.

“No one tells you that. You just go to the most convenient pharmacies to you and that’s all you think about until you have to pay it,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert pays less for her drugs because of GoodRX, a website or app that compares cash pay prices and offers coupons. This means you skip insurance.

What’s the price difference?

WINK compared the cash pay prices for generic Losartan, a high-blood-pressure medicine. A One-hundred milligram 90-day supply.

At Publix, it was $61. At CVS Pharmacy, $185. But apply the GoodRX coupon and those prices drop drastically to $16 at Publix, and $63 at CVS, respectively.

Does it make sense for me?

Gilbert is self-insured and her last insurance policy included drug coverage, costing her $750 a month plus a $7 or so co-pay per prescription.

Her new policy without drug coverage is $640 a month and with a GoodRX coupon, her handful of prescriptions come to $40 a month. The plan swap saves her more than $1,000 a year.

Caitlin Donovan with the National Patient Advocate Foundation said researching drug costs is essential.

“I’ve heard of people being charged hundreds of dollars for their insurance, and then going through the cash price and it being $5,” Donovan said.

Donovan adds that if you have insurance, look at your projected health expenses and plan.

“Knowing what that deductible is and getting an idea of whether you’ll hit it or not is a good first step to knowing where and when and how you should get your medications,” Donovan said.

Other companies similar to GoodRX are SingleCare and RX Saver. As for how GoodRX makes its money, the site says it’s from ads and referrals.