According to Reuters, out of the world’s 20 top-selling drugs, the cost of medication in the United States is three times higher than Britain’s, six times higher than that of Brazil, and 16 times higher than that of India! For diabetes, the shot needed before bedtime would cost around $160 in the U.S., but only around 400NT in Taiwan, which converts to around $14-15 in the U.S.
What’s even scarier is that the prices are still rising! According to the National Institute of Health, over the past five years, costs for the top 10 best-selling drugs in the United States have increased by 126%, which is exponentially higher than the inflation rate. It is so high that it surpasses the inpatient and outpatient expenses which include seeing a doctor and getting admitted into the hospital.
How can you save money when the medication costs are so high?
Deductibles are important in helping you choose a health plan!
Different insurance companies and different health plans provide different drug lists, so each health plan’s prescription drug coverage can vary and depend on a lot of factors.
High deductible plans may cost less, but if you are constantly taking medication and have a long-term need for prescription drugs, make sure to consult a professional health insurance agent and confirm that the prescription drug coverage you currently have is covered in your health plan, or you might end up paying for your medication out of your own pocket!
2018 Health Insurance Prescription Drug Coverage
When buying insurance in the United States, different benefits are provided based on the plan you choose—this includes Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum—the four major levels. The Platinum plan has the best benefits and the lowest deductibles and co-pays, but the most expensive premiums. The Bronze plan has the most basic benefits and the highest deductibles and co-pays, but the cheapest premiums. In terms of prescription drug coverage, they are generally the same, not too much of a difference.
Bronze plan: Whether you’re looking to purchase a brand name drug or generic drug, you must meet the deductible first before your insurance can cover the costs for you. As long as it’s not a serious illness with heavy doses of medication, you will most likely be paying for medication out of your own pocket.
Silver plan: You must also meet the deductible before your insurance can cover the costs. After meeting your deductible, generic drugs would only cost $15, and brand name drugs would cost $55. However, if your annual income falls into the low-income range and you qualify for low-income subsidies, then you can purchase Silver 94, Silver 87 plans and the medication would be very inexpensive. For the Silver 94 plan, a 30-day supply for the generic drug would only cost $3, and $5 for the brand name medication.
Gold plan: You won’t need to meet the deductible. You can automatically use the plan’s medication benefits. Generic drugs would cost $15 and brand name drugs would cost $55.
Platinum plan: You won’t need to meet the deductible. You can automatically use the plan’s medication benefits. Generic drugs would cost $5 and brand name drugs would cost $15.
Generic Drugs vs Preferred Drugs
Brand-name drugs are also known as preferred drugs. A brand-name drug is originally developed by a pharmaceutical company. It is under patent protection approved by the FDA. Once the patent life expires on a brand-name drug product, it is eligible to be made into a “generic drug.” Generic drugs must have exactly the same active ingredients, strength, dosage form and route of administration as the brand name product.
With that being said, if you see an expensive preferred drug on your prescription, you may ask if there is a generic drug alternative. Generic drugs are usually 80-85% cheaper than preferred drugs.
Costco has the best deals for you
For the same generic drug, it would cost $18 at Costco, $66 at Target, more than $100 at Walgreens, and more than $200 at Rite Aid and CVS.