Prescription discount cards have become increasingly common since they were first introduced. You can find RX discount or prescription discount card in popular magazines, online, and even in doctors’ offices. While these discount cards might seem highly beneficial as they seem to provide you a good bargain, their ultimate impact on the healthcare cost is anything but. According to studies, RX discounts and prescription discount cards only serve manufacturers’ interests and push patients away from inexpensive alternatives, costing the overall healthcare system billions of dollars in the process.
Following are two primary ways prescription discount cards tend to do more harm than good:
Increased Insurance Premiums
Here’s how a prescription discount card works; you have to come up with, let’s say, $5 a month for a medication that costs over $100. Who makes up the difference? The insurance companies. However, these companies don’t do this of the goodness of their hearts. They do this because it results in increased insurance premiums. Ultimately, you end paying the full price anyway. It even happens sometimes when a more economical, suitable, and generic form of the drug is available.
Dependence on Prescription Discount Cards
Apart from the increased insurance premiums, patients pay the price in form of their dependence on RX discounts and prescription discount cards. Pharmaceutical companies can discontinue their discount programs at any time. If that happens and you cannot find the generic form of the drug, you get stuck paying full price for the brand name drug. Often, patients don’t even ask their doctors if a generic form of the certain drug is available. So, they end up paying higher price for the brand name drug because they don’t know any better. This can be devastating for the finances of the patient. Not to mention it could encourage refusal to a prescription routine that had been working well for them.
What Can You Do About This?
The problem is, a lot of people aren’t even fully aware of the benefits vs. disadvantages of prescription discount cards. So, the first step is to find out if the policy that a certain card follows applies to you. To avoid any surprises when using an RX discount or prescription discount card, it is recommended that you check the policies related to it as well as the most recent benefits document. Different insurance plans refer to accumulator adjustment in their own ways. You should find the latest benefits documents on the website of your health plan and search for keywords like “prescription discount card”, “RX discount”, “accumulator”, “accumulation”, “copay card”, and “coupon”.
RX discounts and prescription discount cards allow you to purchase your certain medications at a lowered price. However, there is a hidden dark side to these discounts which can be seen in the form of increased insurance premiums. It is the responsibility of physicians to talk to their patients about the real costs of such discounts and offers. Pharmacists can also help in this regard.