So I went to fill a prescription on Saturday, and talked the price down from $76 to $45 — though I think I could have gotten it down to $11.05 with a little more work.
It’s for olmesartan, the generic for Benicar, a high blood pressure medication.
With my insurance card for Medicare Part D, the price was going to be $76 for a 90-day supply of 20 mg pills. I told the pharmacist I had seen it online for as little as $11.05. So I was prepared to not use my insurance card and instead pay cash.
Why would you care about the deductible at $11.05?
He pointed out that the cash purchase would not fall against my $488 deductible, and I said that if it as $11.05, that was of little concern to me.
He said, “How little did you see it for?” (I had been looking on the GoodRX site just before going to the store. See chart below.) I said $11, $14, $30, $41 … and he said, “$45.”
My normal impulse would be to find the $11.05, but we’re in the middle of two big projects at ClearHealthCosts, and in the middle of the pandemic, so I took the $31 savings. Next time I’ll go for the $65 in savings, though I’d need to move the prescription from my local independent pharmacy to one of the places with a lower price, knowing that it might not work out the way the GoodRX site suggested it would.
(No, I am not required to use my Medicare Part D plan to buy medications, and neither is any holder of commercial insurance required to use an insurance card. Often you can save money by putting away your insurance card and paying cash. We happen to know.)
The screenshot of the GoodRX search for my area is below. Here’s the link to the search I did today, Feb. 19, 2022, but don’t expect it to be the same as the screenshot — GoodRX price listings change quite frequently.
The range is pretty striking — these are “cash” prices, using the coupon GoodRX says is necessary. We have looked at this before, and we note that many places will not accept the GoodRX coupons, despite GoodRX assurances — and also that quite often a price for a medication can be lower than the ones found on the GoodRX “with coupon” price listing.
Note carefully also that GoodRX wants you to know in the smaller type that the retail price could be $601, or $540, or $511, and they can save you 96 percent or 97 percent, etc.
Wondering what that retail price is actually, GoodRX? If I bought it at retail for $45?
Read more here about how to save money on prescriptions.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.