Monday, August 05, 2019

Another GoodRx story

A regular reader and commenter has given us permission to share his story:

"I have used GoodRX for prescription pricing in the past, although my local pharmacist has found some other codes to get me better pricing; I take what they give me if it seems reasonable. Recently I was sold on getting Kroger's in-house plan, which you have to pay for, and it auto renews each year. I get two of my meds for "free," and a better price on the other two. So I do save about a hundred dollars a year. But I take a 5th med, and if I were to use the Kroger plan pricing, I would pay about $70 more for it than with GoodRX at the same pharmacy.

Okay, here is where it gets interesting: the Kroger plan is administered by GoodRx. So some of GoodRx's prices are actually better than the plan that they administer for Kroger. Go figure.

And I note that prices change, and I have been blindly going to Walmart for that 5th med, when I should have checked GoodRX each time and just picked the best price and location.

One of the frustrating things about buying meds is that the pharmacist can't tell you how much it is going to cost until they fill the prescription. So if you don't like the price, you can either bargain for a better price with a different code (if you are the kind of person who can graciously create confrontation and hold up the line behind you), or transfer somewhere else, if you want that hassle. GoodRx has done a good job making prices transparent before you go to the pharmacy. But the pharmacies don't always honor the prices you see on the GoodRx website.

It is a brave new world, a big game, and I play it. I have told this to the pharm tech: "look, these prices are a game, and I am willing to play it." I don't think they appreciate when I say that


Oh, he adds this helpful advice, as well:
"1. It pays to check your meds against various codes each time you fill, and present that code to the pharmacy for a better price. I know this is a game, you have to play it. 

2. Membership plans offered by retailers like Kroger, Target, and CVS discourage price shopping.

3. Don't assume that a membership plan will give you the best price or that the membership plan is cost effective.

4. Code pricing or coupons though plans like GoodRx may or may not be honored at the counter (maybe you can ask your readers about their experiences)."

This is especially helpful if you have more than a few, and/or expensive, meds.

Caveat emptor, indeed.
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