Struggling to pay for medications? Kane in Your Corner shows you how to save
Nearly 70% of Americans take prescription medication daily, and depending on your insurance, the cost can add up. But a Kane In Your Corner investigation found that a little detective work could save you big bucks.
Kane In Your Corner called five pharmacy chains and priced six medications, commonly prescribed for long-term use. The prices obtained were retail prices, which would be charged to a person without prescription drug coverage, or potentially to someone who had an unmet deductible.
Some of the differences were striking. Losartan is a commonly prescribed blood pressure medication. At a local Walmart, the cash price quoted for a one- month supply was just $9, but at an area Rite Aid, the quote came back at $95.
It was a similar experience for the cholesterol medication, Atorvastatin. CVS and Rite Aid quoted cash prices of $125 and $154 respectively. But at a local Stop & Shop, the cash price was just $18.
Shoppers were surprised by the variation. "Are you serious?" asked Elizabeth DeLaRosa, adding, "That is a humungous swing."
"I’m lucky, I feel like, to have the kind of coverage where I don’t have to worry about it," added Mike Greenhouse. "I wish everyone had that kind of coverage."
Why do prices vary so much? Healthcare advocate AnnMarie McIlwain says it has a lot to do with the rebates pharmacies can get from manufacturers.
"Some obviously are more aggressive, or one might argue more successful in those negotiations than others," McIlwain says.
McIlwain offers other ways consumers can save on prescription medication. See if your pharmacy offers a membership program. The cost may be around $20 a month but could potentially save you in the long run. Also, check for online coupons at sites like GoodRx, WellRx and SingleCare. In some cases, Kane In Your Corner found prices with a coupon were 90% lower than cash prices. McIlwain also recommends checking discount pharmacy websites, like Mark Cuban's Cost Plus Drugs.
To see how much of a difference those options can make, just look at the pricing for Abiraterone, used to treat prostate conditions. The drug is expensive. Kane In Your Corner was quoted cash prices as high as $9,945 for a monthly supply. But with a coupon, that same retailer now charged $139.71. And on Cost Plus, the medication had a retail price of just $33.60.