One of my co-workers had an interesting experience at the pharmacy recently. Here’s his story:
I am an employee of GoodRx. Since I am a full-time employee, my family receives health insurance (which includes pharmacy benefits) at a cost of about $400 per month.
I’ve always just assumed that having health insurance guarantees me a better price at the pharmacy. GoodRx is great, but I have insurance . . . right?
Last Friday, I woke up with a bad case of conjunctivitis (pink eye)—yuck. I visited a local doctor, and within 5 minutes was handed a prescription for the generic version of Maxitrol eye drops. I asked the doctor how much this medicine would cost, to which he said “I’m honestly not sure.”
I jumped in my car and immediately fired up the GoodRx mobile app to find out how much this drug costs. GoodRx told me that one major pharmacy chain sold this drug for $9.99 through their Prescription Savings Club (no fee), while every other nearby pharmacy was between $15 and $35.
Still, I have insurance, so I knew my insurance would be the best price. Would it be $5? Maybe even free? I was just happy that I’d be paying lower than $9.99. I drove to the pharmacy to fill my prescription.
Five minutes later, the pharmacist handed me my prescription and said “That’ll be $11.96, please.” Now, I know it’s just a few bucks, but that’s about 20% higher than my insurance price and I pay $400 every month for my insurance to save money on my drugs!
So I said to the pharmacist “Wait a second—you have a generic discount program advertised all over the store that offers this drug for $9.99 without any insurance, but WITH insurance, it’s $11.96?” His answer: “Huh. I guess so. I didn’t know that could happen.”
I asked him to re-run my prescription with the Savings Club discount, and 30 seconds later I paid $9.99, cash, or 20% less, without my insurance.
Now, I’ve worked at GoodRx for a while, and I’d like to think that I understand prescription drug prices, but my mind was blown.
From now on, I’m checking every prescription on GoodRx. Regardless of my insurance.