You may be overspending on your prescription drugs, and you’re not alone. Because prices for medication vary wildly between pharmacies, millions of Americans get stuck paying a heftier bill than they have to.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s an innovative app you can use to lower the cost of your monthly meds. In this article, we’ll tell you all about this disruptor, GoodRx. Let’s look at what it is, who can use it, and how it really works.
What Is GoodRx?
GoodRx is a free online price comparison platform for prescription drugs. In other words, the company can track the pricing of your meds at different pharmacies (including at mail-order pharmacies) and show you where they’re cheapest.
But that’s not all. Besides finding you the lowest price available, GoodRx also has coupons. You can download, save a photo, or print them, take them to the pharmacy, and boost your savings.
GoodRx has both an app and a website. They’re equally as easy to use, and did we mention it’s free?
Monthly Memberships: GoldRx
Although GoodRx is completely free to use, there is also a paid subscription service. GoldRx offers its members even better discounts on meds and special perks, such as affordable telehealth appointments and free delivery on online pharmacy orders.
You can get access to all this for as low as $5.99 a month. Alternatively, the family plan covers up to five patients (pets included!) and costs $9.99 monthly.
Telehealth Appointments: GoodRx Care
GoodRx services don’t end at prescription discounts. With GoodRx Care, users can also have a doctor’s visit completely online through the platform.
If you’re not a GoldRx member, most appointments cost $49. You can book appointments to check up on your sexual health and preventative care. You could also fill your prescription during these telehealth appointments. GoodRx Care physicians can even help you quit smoking!
Whether you need help with a physical ailment or your prescription is running out, you’ll find a qualified doctor on the other side of the phone.
After a full year of living with a pandemic, the convenience of GoodRx Care is something millions of consumers have already taken advantage of.
Special Drug Discount Programs
GoodRx has yet another feature up its sleeve. It helps patients in dire financial need find special programs to make their prescription refills free.
When you select the drug you need and scroll to the bottom of the page, you may see a directory of resources for patients who can’t afford their meds. This can range from government-sponsored programs to manufacturer coupons. Either way, it gives low-income patients a chance to get the treatments they need.
Diabetes meds, for instance, are often covered by a lot of these need-based programs.
If you’re having a hard time making ends meet, this is something to look into.
How to Use GoodRx? Step-By-Step Guide
Using the GoodRx platform couldn’t be easier. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to do to save some cash on your meds:
Step 1: Open GoodRx
Whether you’re using the app or visiting the website, you don’t need to create an account (or log in with Facebook) to use GoodRx.
Step 2: Search for the Prescription Drug You Need
Using the search feature, type the name of your medication. Make sure to select if you’re looking for the brand-name or generic version, the correct dosage, and the desired pill count per package.
Step 3: Compare the Prices
A long list of pharmacies in your area will show up. Keep scrolling until you see a price you can afford.
Step 4: Select the Right Coupon for You
Once you’ve found the best deal, click “Get Free Coupon.” Either save the coupon on your phone (if you’re using the app) or print it out.
Step 5: Go to the Pharmacy and Get Your Discount
Don’t forget to explain to the pharmacist that you’re using GoodRx—and to show them the coupon, of course. That’s all there is to it. They’ll then ask how you’re paying (card or cash) and you’ll have your meds in no time.
Who Can Use GoodRx?
GoodRx is a platform open to everyone. You don’t need to create an account or buy a monthly subscription, it’s all free.
When someone without health insurance walks into a pharmacy, they’re paying the retail drug price for their prescription. More often than not, the pricing is so high that uninsured patients go into debt or don’t take their meds the way they’re supposed to.
GoodRx is obviously great for these patients. By using the price comparison tool, they can save dozens (if not hundreds) of dollars every month.
Uninsured patients can even get routine medical care through Care, as it tends to be cheaper than the rates of many appointments.
Patients on Medicare and Medicaid
GoodRx wasn’t created with Medicare and Medicaid patients in mind. However, they can still enjoy the benefits offered by the platform.
When your doctor gives you a prescription, you have two choices. You can either pay the copay your Medicare Part D insurance company set, or you can use GoodRx. Sadly, you can’t combine both.
Now, there are times when it’s more affordable to buy meds through Part D and others when GoodRx is your best choice. Before committing to either, it’s important that you do the math.
Patients with Private Health Plans
Did you know most GoodRx users have some form of health insurance? Yet they turn to GoodRx in times of need. That’s because using GoodRx pays off.
Suppose your physician just prescribed you a brand-name medication. Your insurance copay is much too high for your budget, but so is the retail price. What do you do? Reluctantly dip into your savings to afford the copay?
Or imagine you’ve been dealing with a complicated illness for a while. If you haven’t responded well to the first, more traditional rounds of treatment, your doctor could prescribe you uncommon meds. It’s very possible your insurance company wouldn’t be okay with this, and thus refuse to help you pay for the drugs. What now?
In both those situations (and many more!), first going to GoodRx is your best choice. It will save you cash since you don’t need to splurge on arbitrarily high prices.
How Much Can You Save with GoodRx?
There’s no doubt that GoodRx’s platform can save you money. After all, over 18 million Americans have used (and loved) using the app. But just how much cash can you save? GoodRx claims users can save up to 80% on their prescription drugs.
Let’s look at a specific scenario.
Imagine your doctor prescribes you Atorvastatin, a generic drug used to manage cholesterol levels and the most prescribed med in the United States. At Walgreens, a 40-pill package costs $128. If you have a GoodRx coupon, however, the cost gets cut down to $21.15 at the same store. That’s a saving of 83%!
Sure, your insurance copay will probably be lower than the sticker price, but it may be slightly higher than the GoodRx price tag. It’s up to you whether you should save with GoodRx or not, but it seems like a simple choice, especially if you don’t have health insurance.
GoodRx vs. Discount Cards & Retailers
You may have caught on that GoodRx sounds a lot like a drug discount card. Those cards are sold (or sometimes given away for free) by many different companies in the health sector. Walgreens, for instance, has a prescription drugs discount card.
Yet, GoodRx isn’t quite the same. Namely, because you’re not tied to a specific retailer. In other words, you can get deals at just about any chain (and sometimes even local) pharmacy. Thus, you have more freedom and can get better prices on your meds.
How Does GoodRx Make Money?
Many users ask themselves how this money-saving platform can offer such great discounts. It’s easy. GoodRx partners with almost all Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) in the country. This way, they can negotiate awesome deals you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
GoodRx’s revenue comes from several streams. The main ones include ads run on their website and apps, membership passes, and commission from prescription drug sales. Of those three, the third one is the most substantial.
Do Pharmacies Lose Money with GoodRx?
Well, yes and no. It truly depends on the pharmacy.
Large pharmacy chains (e.g. Walmart, Costco, Wegmans, and Walgreens) don’t lose money with GoodRx payments. That’s because they offer so many different products and do so much business every day that discounted meds don’t take a toll on their finances.
Small, independently owned pharmacies, on the other hand, may lose money with GoodRx. If you walk in and stock up on your prescriptions without buying anything else, the pharmacy is likely losing money. However, how many people can really resist wellness products, healthy snacks, and cute cards at check-out? Often, independent chemists make some of their money this way.
Plus, by providing a good shopping experience (let’s be real, everyone loves a deal), all pharmacies hope to see you come back again and again. Loyal consumers are good for business.
GoodRx or Amazon PrimeRx?
Because GoodRx proved to be so lucrative, Amazon is eager to get a piece of the pie, too. In 2020, the e-commerce giant launched its own price-comparison platform, Amazon PrimeRx. Although it’s still too early to tell, it’s showing a lot of promise. The business model is the exact same, and the prices between PrimeRx and GoodRx are similar too.
Which one you choose is up to you. If you have a Prime membership, for example, you may want to choose the Amazon version. But if users’ trust and satisfaction are important to you, GoodRx’s platform seems like the obvious option, as it’s been around for much longer.
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