Prescription Discount Cards for Seniors
Healthcare in the United States is an elaborate system that few of us understand. The high cost of medicine, however, is something we’re all familiar with. What’s more, most older adults have limited insurance, huge deductibles or no prescription coverage. To do away with the constant struggle to pay for prescription drugs, I really recommend that older adults get themselves a prescription discount card.
At their core, prescription discount cards can help reduce the cost of many prescription medications, alleviating the stress and financial burden surrounding medications. To help you mitigate your out-of-pocket medication expenses, here is a holistic guide to prescription discount cards for older adults. In this article, we’ll take a look at what these discount cards do, if you need to pay for them, and how to choose the best one for your needs.
What is a Prescription Discount Card?
The best prescription discount cards help older users save thousands of dollars each year on medications, by negotiating the prices of covered drugs with pharmacies beforehand. While some card brands allow the user to present the card at any number of pharmacies, such as GoodRx and SingleCare, others only offer savings at select pharmacies within retail stores, such as Kmart’s Prescription Savings Club card.
Once you receive any of these cards (available in both digital and physical forms), all you need to do is present a valid prescription at a partner pharmacy to receive the discount. Typically the brand website or app lets you locate nearby pharmacies that accept their discount cards, and they’ll even tell you the exact discounted price of the medicine. You may also gain access to a comparison of prices between nearby retailers.
What separates prescription discount cards from insurance policies is that most prescription discount cards don’t have any limits to the benefits you can reap. You can purchase as many medications with it as you’d like. Also, these cards are typically free of cost, asking no qualifying health-related questions and requiring neither deductibles nor copays.
If you have clipped coupons for groceries and the like, you won’t have much trouble figuring out how to use the prescription discount cards. Think of them as your all-in-one coupons for saving up to 80 percent on the price of prescription medications. In fact, many a time, card users end up getting common generic medications for absolutely free.
FYI: Prescription discount cards cannot replace health insurance completely, but they sure can offer an alternative way to save on medicine costs for those who are uninsured or underinsured.
Non-Profit Prescription Discount Cards
AARP, the US-based interest group focusing on issues affecting older adults, offers a prescription discount card for members. While the card is free, it is only available to active members, which means that you need to regularly pay your AARP membership dues for continued eligibility.
Older adults may also check out prescription discount cards that are specially targeted at residents of their state. The free Ohio drug card is an example, available to the state’s residents. It has no waiting periods, no need to disclose personal information, and no exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Also, if older residents of Ohio are covered under Medicare or other government-funded prescription drug coverage, they will still have the opportunity to use the prescription discount card on medications not covered by their insurance. Similar prescription drug savings cards are available specifically to residents of Louisiana, Florida, Minnesota and North Carolina.
Find Your Discount Care: A quick internet search can help you determine if there are prescription savings cards available exclusively for residents of your state.
Do I Have to Pay for My Prescription Discount Card?
Typically, prescription discount cards are freely distributed in hospitals, grocery stores, and pharmacies. You may also receive them randomly in your mailbox. Brands such as Kmart and GoodRx don’t charge you for using their card, nor will they need your personal data. On the other hand, one of the few well-known prescription discount card providers to charge an annual membership fee is Walgreens ($20 for individuals and $35 per family). Older adults who have Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare are not eligible for this prescription savings club. Still, other services charge for an upgraded service. GoodRx, for example, has a Gold program that costs $5.99/month, offering additional savings on select medications. Their base plan is free of charge.
What to Look for in a Prescription Discount Card
You will see that some prescription discount cards offer valuable savings, while others are not as useful. As with different insurances, not all prescription discount cards are made equal. To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, we have researched the market and selected our top three prescription discount cards:
Prescription Discount Cards Comparison
|Discounts Up To||80%||80%||80%|
|Free Discount Card||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can Pair with Third Party Insurance||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Works with Over-the-Counter Meds||Yes||No||Yes|
|Home Delivery Eligible||No||Yes||No (only with paid membership)|
|Human-Equivalent Pet Medications||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Works Outside U.S.||Yes||No||Yes|
Accepted at more than 65,000 pharmacies nationwide, ScriptSave WellRx’s discount card has no limits on spending. Older users just need to whip out their card and the discount will be applied to their purchase. If you have a pet, ScriptSave will offer the same discounts on pet medication. All you need to do is have the vet convert the prescription into human doses.
Did You Know: Once registered, ScriptSave WellRx offers additional medication management services such as pill and refill reminders and personal medication records so that you can track your prescriptions.
With SingleCare’s app, you can compare prices of brand-name and generic drugs. This convenient and free online tool can be used to check out pricing every time you need a refill or make a new purchase. SingleCare even offers discounts on telemedicine sessions, in addition to certain dental and vision needs. Though it has only 35,000 participating providers, older adults can enjoy SingleCare’s policy of no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
GoodRx Prescription Discount Card is one of the best and most reliable options in the market. The company website indicates that the card is good at more than 70,000 pharmacies and retailers across the United States. In fact, with certain medications and pharmacies, the medicine price with a GoodRx card ends up being significantly cheaper than even what a Medicare copay can deliver. This is great news considering 77 percent of Americans are not confident of being able to easily afford health care, once they qualify for Medicare.
The GoodRx app also makes it easy to receive your discount. All you have to do is show your digital discount card to a pharmacist, and the discount will be applied to your medication.
How Do I Know if My Pharmacy Accepts a Certain Prescription Discount Card?
Do not enroll in a discount prescription savings plan or accept any prescription discount card unless you know the pharmacies where you can use the card. While some cards can be used across thousands of pharmacies, others force older adults to use a select few retailers.
Be sure to visit or call your local pharmacy to check if they accept the prescription discount card you have chosen. Additionally, you should check how much you save on each prescription. You do not want to drop off your prescriptions only to discover that the pharmacy does not accept the card or that it only offers minimal savings. Since most prescription discount cards are free, I’d recommend checking out their websites. There, you’ll be able to view the discounted prices of the medications you currently use, allowing you to assess which card best suits your needs.
Older adults who understand what prescription discount cards are, how to use them, and how to avoid scams potentially end up drawing real value from their prescription medications.
38 percent of Americans, many of whom being uninsured older adults, regularly take four or more prescription drugs. Since there is no regulation in the prices of these drugs, patients end up having to pick between paying their mortgage or buying life-saving drugs. That’s where a prescription discount card comes in real handy.
GoodRx, with their wide range of partner pharmacies, offer discounts that are often less expensive than a Medicare co-pay. SingleCare, on the other hand, offers home delivery of medication, an amazingly helpful feature, especially in the age of COVID-19. And, for those occasions when you forget your card at home, you may just use each service’s mobile app to pick up the prescription at a discounted rate.
Remember, some of the best cards are usually free. And most paid prescription discount cards have earned a bad reputation for reportedly being scams. So, be sure to do your research and identify where the card is applicable and what discounts it offers before subscribing to it.
Prescription Discount Card Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use the prescription discount cards even if I have Medicare?
Some prescription discount cards won’t work for older adults who already have Medicare or some other third-party insurance. This is why I recommend the likes of ScriptSave WellRx, SingleCare and GoodRx. These services have no such limitations.
- Do I have to furnish a copay with prescription discount cards?
There is no copay with prescription discount cards. You simply show your card and get a discounted price for your medication. That’s it! There are no copay limits involved in these transactions.
- Do I need to pay for my prescription discount cards?
My advice is to avoid the paid prescription discount cards, for you run the risk of getting scammed. Fake discount cards can be peddled to steal your identity and/or money. Luckily, there are so many great free options such as GoodRx and SingleCare available to older adults looking for prescription savings.
- Are prescription discount cards as good as medical insurance?
In truth, these services have very different uses. Always strive to get yourself a good insurance provider when possible, as a prescription discount card will not help you in the event of a hospital visit. Prescription discount cards only come in handy with medications themselves. The discounts offered by prescription discount cards make prescription medicines more affordable, even for those who are uninsured.
- Will a prescription discount card cover my pet?
Pets usually are uninsured; however, several well-known prescription discount cards can help make their medication more affordable, as long as it is a drug approved for both pets and humans, such as antidepressants and eye drops.