Prescription cards can be many things and serve many purposes, and though they are sometimes a hassle to carry about, you will not get any of the benefits associated with your prescription card without it. Prescription cards are not the same as insurance cards and do not always guarantee prescription coverage. To make the most of any prescription cards you may have, it is important to thoroughly understand the benefits your card represents.
If you have employer sponsored health care coverage, you likely don’t have any prescription cards. You most likely have an insurance card that represents both your health care and prescription coverage. The card may list co-pay amounts for doctor office visits and prescriptions, both generic and name brand. Some employers offer enrollment in self-funded plans where health care coverage and prescription coverage are maintained through separate entities. In this case, you may be required to carry separate cards.
For individuals who do not have prescription coverage through their health care plans, prescription cards are offered from a variety of sources. In these cases, the prescription cards do not reflect insurance coverage, but rather a discount on the cash price of prescriptions you may buy. These work similarly to group buying in that the company offering the prescription cards contracts with several pharmacies to secure a predetermined discounted rate. Since individual circumstances can vary greatly, savvy consumers will examine their personal needs and compare cost and spending before signing up. However, if you are one of the millions of people with discount prescription cards, think of it as a reusable coupon. You must have your card in order to receive any cost savings it offers.
Prescription cards are valuable to some consumers and if you have one, you should make it a point to understand its benefits and how the pharmacies verify prescription insurance coverage with prescription cards. Most any pharmacy is able to run the card through an online computer system and quickly retrieve your coverage information. Without your card, your coverage cannot be verified or applied towards your final cost. If you don’t have prescription insurance coverage, check with other people at work or someone you know who is self-insured to see whose offering the best deal on discount prescription cards.
Disclaimer: Cliff Schaffer does not personally endorse or support any of the comments made within the writings of this article.