IFB membership benefit helps lower prescription costs

By Joanie Stiers

Pharmacy cards, patient assistance programs and shopping for generics can provide some pain relief for folks facing high prescription costs.

First, generics save money, as does buying from an insurance carrier’s preferred drug list, said Dr. Paul Pedersen, president of the Illinois State Medical Society. Both of these shopping choices immediately reduce out-of-pocket and co-payment costs.

Shop around, too, because some retailers sell common generic drugs, like antibiotics and blood pressure medication, at low-cost flat rates to attract customers.

After that, pharmacy discount cards can help, said Lisa Carlson, a benefits attorney at Lockton Companies in Chicago and a consultant to Illinois Farm Bureau’s Health Care Working Group.

Click here for more health care resources from Illinois Farm Bureau.

“There are really great discount cards available online, like GoodRx, where you can get a really significant discount in the cost of the drugs when purchasing them directly,” Carlson said. “It’s basically a coupon. You take it to the pharmacy listed, and they will literally discount the cost of the prescription, and in many cases, it can be less than half.”

Similarly, Illinois Farm Bureau members can reduce costs with the ScriptSave Prescription Drug Savings Card provided with their membership. The Illinois State Medical Society also offers a free prescription discount card online. Discounts with this card average roughly 30%.

While online, Pedersen suggests searching for drug rebates from manufacturers of brand drugs. Those manufacturers may also offer patient assistance programs. These programs may provide a free trial period or discount to patients both with and without insurance coverage.

Above all, Pedersen encourages people to consider healthy lifestyle changes to eliminate or reduce the need to buy prescriptions.

“Avoiding medications and only taking them when they are appropriate and prescribed by your doctor is good,” Pedersen said, “but there are other ways to reduce your dosage or eliminate the need and that is by controlling some of those other health factors.”  

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.