Discount drug cards offer discounts on various medical services including medicine, dental care or vision care. They are not a form of insurance and should never be used to replace an actual health insurance plan. They may be used to supplement the coverage provided by a health insurance plan. For example, if your insurance plan requires you to meet $500 deductible before it begins coverage, you can use the discount drug cards to reduce your out-of-pocket costs with brand name or generic drugs. Some Discount Drug Cards are free while others may involve a hefty fee. They are offered by state governments, drug companies, non-profit and other for-profit businesses.
Before using/purchasing a Discount Drug Card you should ask the following questions:
Is there an income limit? (Do I qualify?)
Is there an age limit? (Do I qualify?)
Do I have to be a member of an association to get this discount?
Does the plan cover just me or my entire family?
Is this plan for medication only or is it part of health, vision and/or dental coverage?
Is there a membership/enrollment/annual fee or a monthly fee?
What are my co-payments?
Are there additional shipping and handling fees?
Will the money I save be more than the money I spend on enrollment fees, co-payments, and other fees?
Are drugs provided through a mail-order pharmacy or a walk-in pharmacy?
Do I have to use a “participating pharmacy?” (Are these convenient?)
Are the drugs I need covered by the plan?
What drugs are not covered by the plan?
Does the plan cover both generic and brand name drugs?
What is the percentage of discount of generic and brand name drugs?
Is the discount off the retail price? (Make sure the plan is really saving you money compared to what you would normally pay at your local pharmacy.)
Is there a limit on the benefits I can receive in a year?
Does the plan make available detailed description of coverage? (Make sure you get and read through all the written material regarding the discount card program)
Does the plan have a customer service number, preferably one that is toll-free?
What are the options for canceling this card? What is the policy on refunding your fees?
Many larger chains offer medicine discounts to their customers. Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and others, for example, offer some generic prescriptions for $4. These programs usually do not include all generics. The pharmacist should be able to help you pick the least expensive way to buy your medicine.