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Transcript of the Drug Discount Programs vs. Medicare Part D Video

Transcript of Drug Discount Programs vs. Medicare Part D Video

Drug discount programs are popular with Medicare beneficiaries. And you may wonder whether using a program like GoodRx is a better idea than enrolling in Part D. Hi. I'm Danielle Roberts and in this video, I'll give you my thoughts on drug discount programs like GoodRx. We also polled the members of our Medicare Q&A private Facebook group to ask for their best strategies on saving money on prescription drugs. And I'll share those with you today so that you can also explore all the ways that you might reduce your annual drug spending.

When it comes to using GoodRx or Part D, it should never be an either-or situation. You'll want to have both cards in your pocket, and here's why. Part D is true insurance coverage with a catastrophic coverage limit that will greatly reduce your spending if you hit a certain out-of-pocket limit each year. This is the single most important aspect of Part D because it can keep you from bankruptcy if you someday need very expensive drugs, like oral chemotherapy medications.

There is also a late enrollment penalty for Part D if you don't enroll and you don't have any other creditable drug coverage. Discount programs like GoodRx or SingleCare are not credible coverage. So we don't recommend that you skip Part D. We also find that many of the discount programs can give you good pricing options on many generic drugs, but they don't help nearly enough when it comes to brand name drugs. However, having both Part D and some of the discount program cards in your wallet is a great strategy that you can employ to ensure you get the lowest possible price on the medications that you do take. Although you can't combine the coverage between Part D and something like GoodRx, you can present both your Part D card and your drug discount card to the pharmacist when you fill a medication. Let the pharmacist tell you which program will give you the lowest cost on that particular medication. If you fill the prescription using your Part D coverage, it counts toward whatever stage of your Part D drug plan that you are currently in.

For instance, if you haven't met your deductible yet for the year, and you fill that prescription through your Part D card, it will apply toward your deductible. However, if the pharmacist tells you that your discount program gives you the lowest price, you can fill it that way to take advantage of the savings. It just won't count toward any of your Part D limits. The discount program that our group members recommended the most was the free GoodRx drug discount program. GoodRx's website claims to save you up to 80% on certain medications. And it says that it offers coupons that you can use at more than 70,000 pharmacies. You can visit their website or use their mobile app to search for medication, then enter the dosage and quantity of the medication that you need. You can also choose between the brand name and generic version of the medications that are no longer under their original patent. This is a really important step of the process because the coupon won't be accurate unless you select the correct dosages and quantities and drug name.

The system will display the various pharmacies offering the medication and you can click to get a free coupon which you can either print out, email or even text message to yourself for use later that day at the pharmacy. GoodRx also offers a paid savings club, called GoodRx Gold, that can be used at select pharmacies for greater savings. This monthly membership program currently runs $5.99 a month for individuals or $9.99 a month for up to five family members. While GoodRx is certainly one of the most popular programs, it's not the only one. There are many other discount programs or savings club memberships available out there, such as SingleCare, NeedyMeds, Kroger Rx, and others. While drug discount programs are helpful, they aren't the only way to reduce your drug spending. When we asked our group members about their favorite ways to save on drug costs, they mentioned the following ways to save.

Number one, switch to a generic drug. This is right on point because the whole reason the coverage gap exists is to get you, the beneficiaries, on board with lowering the overall cost of medications. When you fill a generic drug, you have a lower drug total that is counting up toward the gap and you have a better chance of staying under that threshold and not falling into the gap in the first place.

Number two, use a mail-order pharmacy. Some, but not all, Part D drug companies have good mail-order programs where you might be able to get a three-month supply, but only pay for a two-month or two-and-a-half-month supply. So, when you're using your account to search for Part D drug plans, choose that you want to consider mail-order pharmacies and retail pharmacies and see what turns up.

Number three, bring a list of your drugs and the tiers that they fall into to your next doctor appointment. If you have a drug that is a tier-three, -four, or -five and is therefore costly to you, you might ask your doctor if there are any alternative drugs in lower tiers that can treat the same thing.

Number four, ask your doctor for samples. If you have a short-term need for medication, sometimes your doctor may have some samples on hand that will reduce the supply that you'll need to pay for at the pharmacy.

Number five, order from a Canadian pharmacy. While prescriptions filled outside the U.S. do not count toward Part D, we've had some group members report that the savings are well worth it.

Number six, research manufacturer discount programs. Many drug manufacturers have programs to help people with financial assistance to afford very costly medications. Sometimes having Part D may disqualify you from getting a manufacturer discount, but not always. So, it's well worth checking to see if you can qualify.

And number seven, apply for the extra health program for Part D. Beneficiaries with low incomes may be able to qualify for assistance with paying for their Part D premiums. This low-income subsidy will also eliminate the deductible and the coverage gap for people who qualify. You can find out more information on the Social Security website.