GREENSBORO, NC - Pharmacists filled more than 105,075,414 in North Carolina in 2015. That breaks down to 10 for each one of us. And on average we each spend about $1300. So of course when you get an offer in the mail to save money, you're interested. But are prescription drug cards really a deal?
First, prescription drug cards are just one variation of the money savers out there. There's also websites and apps. There are dozens of options so which ones will truly save you some cash and which waste your time? We turned to Consumer Reports for answers.
The magazine suggests you start with the website RXassist.org. This website has a couple of great features. One - it'll tell you if the manufacturer of your drug has any assistance programs. And they have a prescription drug card that should get your generic prescription for less than $10.
Consumer Reports also recommends GoodRx. It's a card, a website and an app.
Lisa Gill with Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs says, "Good RX is a very good app and service because you can see the really the comparison in your neighborhood about he was charging what. And being able to see that is very important."
And those prices - they don't vary much on brand names but generics you can really see the price difference.
For example - if you look at Atorvastatin - generic Lipitor, the website shows it's $11.86 at Walmart. Walgreens has it for $14.98 and but it goes up to has high as $36.09 at Rite Aid.
Consumer Reports is also watching a new player - Blink Health. Here you buy a voucher ahead of time and take it to a participating pharmacy. They say you can buy generic Lipitor for $9.94 through them.
Consumer Reports says there's one more way to use these apps, websites, coupons:
"We have found that on some occasions pharmacists will negotiate with you. So if you say, 'Hey - I found a coupon online offering a drug for this much, will you guys meet that price or can you even beat it?' Sometimes the answer is yes," says Lisa.
Think you don't need this? Insurance companies can change prices monthly. Consumer Reports predicts one out of three of us will get the pharmacy and find out the price of our prescription has gone up.
How do prescription cards work with insurance? If you use these, any money you spend will not go towards your deductible. But if you have a really high deductible - or all your prescriptions fall in that really expensive category of your insurance, it's worth checking to see if you'll end up spending less using a prescription drug card.
One last point....some pharmacies have generic programs as well. Check those too.