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Prescriptions

Updated 06/16/2017 


  Since 2015 the world of Pharmaceuticals has been in
  transition. While media stories of dramatic price hikes
  have Headline News, the options consumers now have
  to get "better deals" is growing to the point you may
  find some medications cost less WITHOUT your good
  insurance program pricing. 
 
  There is not viable for this list to be all-inclusive of available to you at any given
  time. But you now have on-line resources to use comparison shopping to find the
  best deal in a market where prescription prices can change DAILY!  Where the
  "Low Cost Leader" today is the "Highest Priced Provider" tomorrow.  Buyer Beware!


KEEP IN MIND ...
  
Medications are like gasoline ... the price can change every day at the same place
  but you are buying it out of the same large container where it was yesterday!

Prescription prices can vary widely even within the same block or on the same day. Some outlets may 
charge $15.99 for 90 tablets while others will charge $115 for 90
tablets
of the 
same medication.  Know the rules, know the prices, save money. You can do this on-line or by calling the pharmacy.

If your prescription is at another pharmacy, request it be transferred that day for pick-up later that day to insulate you from the next price swing and ensure the lower cost.

It is possible on-line discount prescription services may be less than mail-order.
Some mail-order providers are higher than local pharmacies with discounting. 
The savings may be marginal but they can be several dollars less.  Be Smart, Shop!

When you again have prescription benefits
, check to see if your policy is for a specific chain of pharmacies. This is a new trend and does not guarantee you the lowest available price. Be Smart, Shop ... it's your money, right?

Example 1:  A specific medication is available from a pharmacy for $14.99 for a
                   90 day supply of a single tablet. That same medication at a pharmacy
                   nearby may be over $45.00.


Example 2:  Many tablet medications come in various dose sizes. Many of these have a
                   "cut line" across one side of the tablet. A small device called a "pill splitter"
                   can be purchased from $1 to $5. The price change if those pills were to be
                   split could be dramatic. Have a conversation with your healthcare provider.

Example 3:  You order a refill by the pharmacy can't fill it until tomorrow ... you say OK.
                   Tomorrow you may be paying a higher price.  If you really luck, the price
                   drops overnight.



CHECKING FOR GENERICS
Patented medicines seem like they are everywhere. Over time those patents expire opening the doors for generics. Sometimes the owner of those patents will be the first to release their own generic. Check the manufacturer's website to see if their generic is available or use tools like GoodRx.com to see if a generic is presented as an option for the brand you need. I was told of one medication that went generic which reduced the cost from $1,200 per month to $400 per month and alternate generic forms through Federal Programs can be as low as $50 per month.
Just ensure you're not betting these "off the street" but through a legitimate pharmacy.



REQUESTING CHARITABLE ASSISTANCE
When household income drops below thresholds there is the potential of obtaining assistance from various charitable organizations for prescriptions, often operated by the pharmaceutical company itself.
There are common requirements and potential pitfalls you need to be aware of:

     Documentation is Critical:
     It is common to be asked for your most recent Federal Tax Return along with W-2
    Statements for each member of the household along with any Retirement Payment
    Statements to substantiate your claim for assistance.  This does not mean your Tax
    Return must reflect your current financial status.  Explain in your verbal and written
    communications the household financial transition over the current or current and
    prior years to support your position for assistance. An inclusion of Separation Notices
    will help your application for assistance.

    Many require your 1040 form for the prior year. For some, this creates a strong
    incentive to file PRIOR to the start of a new calendar year to avoid the lost time in
    preparation of your prior year's return preparation. Tax documents typically take 30
    days to begin arriving. Thus the incentive to get your paperwork submitted PRIOR TO
    JANUARY 1ST to avoid the paperwork imposed delays. 


TENNESSEE STATE LAW FOR PHARMACY ACCESS (and potentially other states)

Costco and Sam's are membership clubs.  Tennessee law requires their pharmacy be available to anyone whether they hold club membership or not.  Simply walk in, and if questioned, state you are going to their Pharmacy.  If you come into Tennessee, there is no requirement you must to be a Tennessee Resident to receive this benefit.  A number of medications offered, including over-the-counter, can be less than prices available through some of these discounts.  Shop for prices online to find your smart buy by comparing prices.

NOTE REGARDING PETS
     Some insurance programs will extend their discount for pet prescriptions PROVIDED
     the medication is one that is also prescribed for human consumption.  Medications
     specifically sold for pets are generally not offered at pharmacies due to the low
     sales "turnover" of the inventory.


        PARTNERSHIP FOR PRESCRIPTION ASSISTANCE  

        http://PPARx.org
        See detailed write up at 
        http://TheCTGroups.org/resources/assistance/medical-assistance for
        their program to potentially free medication for those on a Maintenance
        P
rescription Program
 
        You may potentially qualify for 
free or low-cost medical treatment by ZIP Code
        including a map with 
address and contact number of each facility.



        
PRESCRIPTION HOPE

FROM THEIR WEB SITE at PrescriptionHope.com or 877 296-HOPE (4673)

Prescription Hope is a national pharmacy program that obtains over 1,500 FDA-approved prescription medications at a price you can afford and their list grew for
2017.

"For the set price of $35.00 per month per medication, our advocates order, manage, track and refill your medications on time, maintain up-to-date records, and renew your medications every year, working with over 180 U.S.-based pharmaceutical manufacturers and their pharmacy.  There are no other costs, fees, or charges associated with your medication or our program.

Before creating an account with them, check other resources first.  This and other
resources should be explored as options when medication costs are very high.
In short, if the prescription is under $35 per month or $105 for 3 months, use the
alternate source as you will be billed $35 per prescription per month.

For over a decade, Prescription Hope has obtained prescription medications for Americans from all walks of life.  Thousands of individuals and families trust Prescription Hope for their prescription medications every month.

 The average income to qualify for the Prescription Hope pharmacy program:
 -  Individuals earning around $30,000 per year.
 -  Couples earning around $50,000 per year.
 -  Guidelines increase with each individual household member earning up to
     $100,000 per year.


The program normally provides a 90 day supply of medication shipped often from the manufacturer's facilities often to your Doctor's office not your residence.

Site note:
Prescription Hope deals with many manufactures of medications and that results in different paperwork depending on the manufacturer's requirements.  Financial eligibility is important and it may time time to collect and provide (via mail, fax or e-mail) the documents required for all requested medications so start early. Prescription Hope will contact your doctor(s) directly to obtain the needed prescriptions for a 12 month window.  The following financial documents may be asked for and is not necessarily an all inclusive list:
1.  Expect to be asked for the first two pages of your prior year US Income Tax
     Return

2.  Expect to be asked for details on family members.
3.  Expect to be asked for any retirement benefits being paid.
4.  Expect to be asked for any statement of benefits for Unemployment.
5.  Expect to be asked for any other statements of benefits or income from other
     sources


This program seeks to enlist you in the manufacturer's program that provides you a voucher for the medication as it was originally specified and supported by a prescription at no additional cost to you beyond the $35.00 per month per prescription charged by Prescription Hope.

Be a smart shopper as some of the discount cards may bring your cost below the $35 minimum charge.  The discount cards are not limited to 30 day supplies.


    
       Rx OUTREACH
  •  Contact Information:  RxOutreach.org  888 796-1234    Based in St. Louis, Mo  (Central Time)

  •  A non-profit fully-licensed mail-order pharmacy whose missions is to provide  affordable  medications.  They promote more than 670 medication strengths
     available with over 70 employees.  
     Medications, dose and quantity pricing are
     available online allowing comparison shopping.  
    Their inventory does not include
     all versions of a medication.  Make sure you enter the exact name of your
     medication and get that exact name displayed for pricing and availability as some
     medications have names very similar which can confuse you from making the right
     decision. 
     
  •  Their web site provide information on:
     -  Eligibility Requirements; income range by number of people in household

     -  Finding Medications offered that you need

     -  Contact Rx Outreach    Rx Outreach en Espanol

     -  Partnerships & Accreditations

     -  Frequently Asked Questions

     -  FORMS:  Patient Forms           Rx Outreach Application
                                                           (available in Spanish)
                       (PDF Documents)     Rx Outreach Medication List
                                                           (available in Spanish)
                                                      Rx Outreach Program Overview
                                                      Rx Outreach Refill Form
                                                      Belviq Patient Application
                                                      Banzel PAP Form
                                                      Diabetic Supplies Form
                                                           (available in Spanish)
                                                      Drug Program Update


                      Professional Forms   
    Rx Outreach Application
                                                           (available in Spanish)

                      (PDF Documents)      Rx Outreach Medication List
                                                           (available in Spanish)
        
                                                  Rx Outreach Program Overview
     
                                                     Rx Outreach Refill Form
                                                      Banzel PAP Form
                                                      Advocate Form
                                                      Preferred Clinic Program
                                                      Drug Program Update
                                                      LANOXIN PAP Form
                        


    GoodRx.com 

    This organization has proven to be a good resource for ANYONE whether you have a
   prescription program or not.  With the sometimes daily changes in medication, now is
   the time to practice competitive shopping!  The benefits from this are rather simple:
   
     1.  There is no cost to join or benefit from their service.  It is free.

     2.  They offer a free membership card but you only need it for the 4 Codes.
          Some pharmacies are now requiring the coupon to receive the GoodRx pricing.

     3.  Their information on prescription costs are online via a PC, laptop, tablet, pad or
          cell phone 
giving you access to their competitive pricing from leading outlets.
          No sign-on is required.  Simply enter the medication name, quantity, dose and
          get multiple current prices from local providers.

     4.  In some cases, published prescription rates are actually LESS than that charged
          by major high benefits programs
from large corporations for the same
          medication, same quantity, same dose.

     Somethings to remember:
     a)  Medication prices do change.  One provider may be the "price leader" one week
          then the "high cost" provider the next week.  This includes stores that promote
          themselves as the "low-cost leader".

     b)  Prescriptions can be moved to another pharmacy but it may take up to three 
          business days for it to happen so some advanced planning is appropriate.

    GoodRx does use some national mail-order pharmacies, however:
    -  You may experience 3 or more days for shipping which is normally but not always
        free so be sure to ask before placing your order on cost and delivery times

    -  Most can ship medication within 48 hours of the order; some run 24x7 which can
        reduce the time to ship

    -  Because it is mail-ordering does NOT automatically mean it is the low-cost leader

    -  Always be an Informed Shopper in making your purchase decisions.

  • This resource indicates they are free to participate in their program and offering potentially up to 80% discount.  One attraction is their website will allow you to identify your ZIP Code, medication needed, dose and quantity, then will display locations and pricing in your area.  This potentially can save you time and money from running around. It is also possible this could be used to determine approximate pricing from the other programs by store and see if you can leverage a better price using one card or the other.  Pricing appears to be driven by negotiated provider discounts and prices may change daily. Many discounts require you print a discount or savings coupon for the price shown and present it at the time fo purchase.  Alternately, you can also CAREFULLY write the FOUR NUMBERS found on the coupon to present to the Pharmacist for your discount savings and save yourself printing costs. Some savings require CASH payment. Some require you hold Membership in their "clubs".

  • The Warehouse option the sometimes identify, has a shipping charge on orders below $35.00. If you subscribe to their monthly magazine you get free standard shipping on medications for Warehouse purchases.  Note: the Warehouse option CAN BE but is NOT ALWAYS your best deal. Their pharmacy is in Florence, KY (across the river and state line from Cincinnati, OH).

  • CAUTION:
    They have a maximum on 30 and 90 day prescriptions which could impact those requiring more than one tablet, capsule, etc. per 24 hour period. This may require ordering the medication twice for 180 tablets over 90 days if allowed.   See Chart of limited doses


  • Contact Information:  GoodRx.com

  • The discount card is available from the website for printing on your printer.

  • A mobile App is available for iPhone and Android to show the Pharmacist the pricing. Coupons are available from the website but are often for a specific pharmacy chain.  Obtaining coupons is not a problem if you have access to a
    printer to print the on-line coupons or the pharmacy can scan it from your mobile
    device. Call the pharmacy before making the trip. 


  BLINK HEALTH 

In March 2017, Blink Health made an entry into the market for reduced cost
pharmaceuticals.  While you do not need any membership card or p
ay any
membership fees, you order and pay for your medication on-line then pick it up
at your preferred pharmacy.

Since you pay on the day or ordering the medication, your price is locked.  If the price changes abruptly over night, consider other providers and potentially having your prescription changed at no cost to you but indicate you need the prescription
filled that day.  This locks your price in avoiding surprises tomorrow.

And do comparison shopping on-line.  It is fast, easy and can be rewarding!  Just
because a provider is on-line does not guarantee the lowest price that day.
         



 PHARMACY DISCOUNT CARDS 

 
There are few who would agree healthcare, over the past years, as become more
  available and at more 
affordable rates at medical practitioners, labs, examinations,
  prescriptions or insurance creating an 
opportunity for those in the private sector to get
  creative in addressing an old bloated system.


   It appears the Pharmacy Discount Cards are an example of reassessing then 
   re-engineering the entire prescription process creating a more cost-efficient process
   by potentially reducing the number of involved groups and driving down costs to the
   consumer/patient.  Simple "out of the box" thinking.

   Before, some had to clip coupons or discount certificates from newspapers, flyers or
   web sites to get a 
price reduction on medicines and other items carried by the store.
   With some of the Prescription 
Discount cards, the need to search for these coupons or
   discounts or knowing the secret code of the day 
are gone.  Some cards are nationally
   negotiated rates.  This simplicity removes if not reduces the need to 
drive great
   distances and traffic drive time to save money which reduces your acquisition costs
   and saves 
dollars whether you are in a career transition, retired, disabled, in college ...
   whatever your reasons are.

   Other changes have also come.  Some companies offered annual Wellness Check-ups
   at no cost to their 
employees or their policyholders.  Some Memphis providers inform
   their patients that "free Wellness Check-ups" will involve charges to the patient for
   prescribing medicines required to maintain their wellness.  Will insurance companies
   cover these charges if billed?  Will this new approach "stick" or will the medical groups
   simply not enforce their new policy?  Ask questions especially for 2017 when policies
   and rules change.



    Healthcare Alliance
  • Contact Information:  TheHealthcareAlliance.org
                                      866 368-1436

  • State they are widely accepted in the United States at over 50,000 pharmacies on all FDA approved prescriptions.  Savings up to 75% are claimed.  Simply present card at time payment is
    due to receive the discount.

    • OBSERVATION:
      Their website displays the various pharmacies in your ZIP Code but only shows a discount percentage.  This does not directly translate into your cost at the pharmacy which could be an unwanted and unaffordable surprise.  Due to cases old records, 
      some locations listed may have closed or moved.

      Knowledge is power and it can save you wasted time, travel costs and grief. Schnuck's departure from Memphis and Kroger closings and relocations are examples.


  • A Smarter Way to Fill Your Prescriptions:
    Contact The Healthcare Alliance in advance of buying your medications by providing your ZIP Code, Medications with dose and quantity needed.
     They can provide you with the current pricing and the best place to obtain that medication.
    To minimize cost you may need to travel to different locations.  Consider the cost of your time, vehicle wear and tear plus gas costs of added travel versus paying a little more to consolidate all purchases at one pharmacy or multiple pharmacies in the same area.  If you have any problem using the card, ask the Pharmacist to call the toll-free number on the card.


    singlecare Pharmacy Savings Card

       From SingleCare Services, LLC, this new program has entered as a source of savings
      for prescription medications. This growing field has many competitors.  You can
      price your medications by visiting singlecare.com/rx and enter the medication
      name, dose size and quantity.  In conducting a comparison of a selected, but limited
      benchmark comparison prescriptions, the price quoted by single card Pharmacy
      Savings Card was higher than GoodRx.com.  No other comparisons were made with
      other program providers.  The following is one of the "basket" items checked:
           MEDICATION NAME                           DOSE SIZE   QUANTITY   PRICE     PROGRAM    USING      
           Simvastatin (Generic Zocor)              (1) 10 mg           90        $34.59   singlecare    Walgreens
                                                                                                      $43.23   singlecare   Kroger

                                                                                                      $  9.99   GoodRx      mail order
                                                                                                      $10.00   GoodRx      Kroger
                                                                                                      $20.00   GoodRx      Walgreens
       It is possible other medications may offer pricing more competitive than found in
      in our comparisons so be a good consumer ... shop prices for your best deal. 



   
USA MedicalCard
  • Contact Information:  USAMedicalCard.com
                                      844 633-7283

  • State they are widely accepted in the United States at over 60,000 pharmacies on all FDA approved prescriptions.  Savings up to 75% are claimed.  Simply present the card at time payment is due to receive the discount.  You do not have to pay cash, you do not have to print discount or savings coupons.  Some of the pharmacies the list include Church Health Center, Costco, CVS, Rite Aid, Sam's, Target, Walmart, Walgreen's and others.  See website for current information.

    If you have insurance, present both cards to the pharmacy to see which card is the best deal.  
    USA MedicalCard is a negotiated rate thus NO INSURANCE IS INVOLVED with the card.  Prescriptions are filled for a 30 DAY SUPPLY only.

  • Their negotiated sales price removes any pre-approvals and card expiration issues. The one card is good for the entire family.  Unlike other cards, all USA MedicalCards display the same numbers.  To improve your cost management for travel, obtain a card for every adult in your household.  There is no additional cost to obtain their free cards.  If you lose one, print one off from their website and request a new plastic one.

  • This card WILL NOT REDUCE YOUR COST WITH INSURANCE COVERAGE and is not available for use with your prescription insurance coverage due to the discounting through USA MedicalCard.  As such, there is no deductible associated with this card.

  • This groups offers a Questions & Answers section on their web site which includes information for those who are on Medicare or Social Security as this card could be used while receiving benefits from these government programs.

  • A Smarter Way to Fill Your Prescriptions:
    Contact USA MedicalCard in advance of buying your medication and provide them your ZIP Code, Medications being sought, dose and quantity needed.  It appears USA MedicalCard has a national negotiated patient cost at all participating pharmacies BUT limits prescriptions to 30 days.  While this requires additional time and travel, coordinating refills into one or minimal trips can reduce these costs.  If you have any problem using the card, ask the Pharmacist to call the toll-free number on the card.

  • The Church Health Center is reported to accept the USA MedicalCard.


    Medical Discount Card (Shelby County Sponsored)
  • While once of some value, time may have reduced the value to you as a consumer
    due to the growth in competition and rising cost of medications.

    Visit the Shelby County web page (or use this link) for the discount card at: Macorx Discount Card
    Simply enter the name of a family member, your e-mail address and ZIP Code to generate a card image that will be provided to you or can be reprinted in the future using your information.

  • A provider look-up is available by ZIP Code to identify participants for this program.  Providers include:
    -  
    the national players (such as Kroger, Target, Rite-Aid, Walgreen's and others)
    -  
    local or regional players
    -  discount warehouse groups such as Costco and Sam's Club.
    -  Pet prescriptions appear to be included for certain items.

  • Because these are low overhead operations you may want to have first hand knowledge the pharmacy they quote is still physically there.  Updating records may not be a priority for them.

  • If you do not have insurance you can realize potential savings.
    The time to obtain a card is a matter of minutes with access to an Internet device (PC or other compatible devices) with printer.  Don't have access, a PC or a printer?  Check with your local public library about using their free resources (a small per page for printing may apply).

  • This arrangement was put in place a number of years ago.  The negotiated rate in effect may not be as competitive as other cards today.  It is understood some funds are paid to Shelby County for each prescription.  There is no known risk or cost in exploring this option.


  PHARMACY CHECKER
 

Free web based tool to check prescription pricing in your area by medication, dose and quantity.  They will include Canadian resources for at least some medications. 
There may not be a meaningful difference today between US, Canada and other foreign providers.  Pricing may not be as competitive as other sources.  This is MAIL ORDER ONLY.
http://PharmacyChecker.com



  PHARMACY: GOOD SHEPHERD HEALTH 

Commercial Appeal story of September 9, 2015 on the Good Shepherd Health store in Hickory Ridge Mall offering a mail order pharmacy program for those in need. This may be a good initial or secondary choice to the Prescription Discount Cards discussed above.  As noted in the article, this is a faith based organization which is
locally owned and operated.  Good Shepherd Health may be found in other large
metro areas.



  RITE-AID PHARMACY 

Rite-Aid offers a free member discount program for select medications.  This can produce savings for those participating in their program, BUT READ THE RULES. Always shop prices competitively.
NOTE:  Rite-Aid limits the number of doses (tablets or other measurable unit per
            day).  Check their List using the link below to see how many doses are
            allowed per day under the program.  One medication may allow 90 tablets
            for $15.99 but if you need 180 for 90 days it's nearly $55.

GoodRx.com - Perscription Price Look-up Tool for your area
Rite-Aid List of Medications in the Prescription Savings Program

Rite-Aid Pet Medications List







DISCLAIMER:  Michael Zurkammer has no direct loans, has no financial interest, has no personal knowledge of anyone involved or hold any
                     other type of financial agreements or interests with any of the organizations listed above.  It is not believed there are any
                     indirect holdings such as through a mutual fund, partnerships, etc.