Thomas, a data analyst in Mesa, Arizona, works with computer screens all day, so his vision is crucial for his work and everyday life (as is the case for most people). When he started having eye problems, he found that the prescription eye drops his doctor ordered were unreasonably expensive. Here’s the serendipitous story of how he found GoodRx at just the right time.
About a month ago, Thomas was diagnosed with glaucoma, a condition where there is too much fluid build-up in the eye, raising eye pressure to the point where it can cause permanent blindness. Thomas had already been experiencing minor vision loss, and by the time he saw his ophthalmologist, he was told he should have surgery immediately since the pressure in his eyes was so great.
Now, let’s take a step back and talk about Thomas’ health insurance situation. Thomas is a data analyst at a medium-sized business (under 100 employees), so his options for coverage plans are limited. For now, though, he has a high-deductible health plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA) that his employer contributes to.
Even though Thomas’ eye surgery would be covered by his insurance, he was hoping to put it off for the time being. With the only other tech employee at his work quitting the week before, Thomas was solely responsible for his entire company’s technical needs and couldn’t afford to take time off at that point for the surgery.
Thomas’ ophthalmologist reluctantly agreed and prescribed him pilocarpine eye drops to help reduce the pressure in his eyes in the meantime. His doctor told him, “This medication is over 100 years old. There are generics, so you don’t have to pay the full price. Get it as soon as you can, and start using it to minimize the ongoing damage to your eyes until I can get you scheduled for surgery.” Since pilocarpine is available in generic form, Thomas expected them to be pretty cheap. He was wrong.
The next day while Thomas was at work, his wife, Phyllis, started calling around pharmacies to see where they could fill the prescription. She stopped in her tracks once she heard what the price was going to be—their regular CVS told her it would cost nearly $90 for a 30-day supply!
Bewildered, Thomas and Phyllis checked the mail order pharmacy provided by his health insurer that evening. Surely they would have the eye drops for cheaper, Thomas thought. That’s what they do, right?
Turns out, he was wrong again. Not only did the mail order pharmacy just have a 90-day option—Thomas estimated needing about two weeks’ worth of medication before his surgery— but there on the insurance website, it said: “Plan pays: $0.00. You pay: $221.02”
The insurance website also listed some local pharmacies and what they would charge, which wasn’t too far off from what Phyllis had already gathered. Thomas’ copay for a month’s worth of pilocarpine eye drops would be $80.91 at the five pharmacies listed.
Thomas and Phyllis took a break from trying to understand these prices and went to watch some TV. As it just so happened, a commercial for GoodRx came on. Here’s what happened next, in Thomas’ own words:
“We decided that the prices on GoodRx could not possibly be worse than what we had already seen, so we went to the website. And lo and behold, GoodRx had a coupon for CVS, and it was about half of what I was going to pay. There was also a coupon for Walmart, and it was even cheaper. But since CVS already had my script, we just took the CVS coupon, called them, made sure they would accept it and drove as fast as legally possible to the store.”
Thomas has had the eye surgery since then, so all’s well that ends well. He was able to save his vision as well as 50% on his prescription eye drops. And he’s now telling everyone about GoodRx: “I will DEFINITELY be checking ALL my prescriptions on GoodRx from now on. It is definitely worth it. Why wouldn’t anyone at least go look first?!” We’re very glad we could help, Thomas!
GoodRx started with a simple idea: Help people find affordable medications. Help people understand their options. Help people get what they need for their health. Have a story about how GoodRx helped you? Email us at email@example.com or tell us on Facebook or Twitter – don’t forget to tag #GoodRxHelps!
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