The cost of prescriptions is a genuine concern for older Americans. Add to increasing drug prices the fact that many of us need more medication as we age, and it’s easy to see why anyone would be worried about paying for prescription medications.
Naturally, any chance to save money on prescriptions is a good thing. Prescription discount cards are one way to do that.
What Are Prescription Discount Cards?
Prescription discount cards are free cards that you apply for, and then use to save money on your medications.
Please note that some cards are not free, but we generally don’t recommend those. With so many good free prescription discount cards around, there’s no need to sign up for a version that makes you pay money. Some of these have even been proven to be scams, so we advise steering clear.
One exception is cards offered through well-known big-name retailers, which are unlikely to be scams (though they still might not be right for you.) For example, Kmart offers a yearly subscription card for a fee of $10, which then gives you savings on products purchased at their pharmacies.
How Do Prescription Discount Cards Work?
You show your card at the pharmacy, and save money! It’s quick and easy. However, do make sure that the pharmacy you’re shopping at accepts your chosen prescription card, as not every establishment accepts every card.
What Do Prescription Discount Cards Cover?
Most cards cover both generic and brand name medication for many different conditions and illnesses.
How Much Can I Save with a Prescription Discount Card?
The savings vary depending on your card, where you’re using it, and which drug you’re purchasing. You’ll find savings ranging from 20% all the way up to a staggering 80% in some circumstances.
Over the course of a few months, the savings can quickly start adding up.
Can Anyone Get A Prescription Discount Card?
Some prescription discount cards have eligibility criteria. For example, you may need to be above a certain age, or below a certain level of income.
Some cards aren’t available if you already have health insurance. Others are available to anyone, but you can only use them for items not covered by your insurance.
In every case, it’s a good idea to thoroughly check the small print and make sure your card covers the things you need.
What To Look Out For When Choosing A Prescription Discount Card
The aim when choosing a prescription discount card is to make sure that you’ll actually save money with it. To that end, we recommend checking out the following:
- Where is the card accepted? Will you be able to stick with your preferred pharmacy, or will you need to change?
- Which drugs does the card cover? Does it include things you need regularly?
- Can you use it for generic, or does it cover brand name only? If it’s brand name only, the savings might not be as high as simply switching to generic.
- Can you still use it if you have insurance? Most cards won’t let you combine your insurance and savings card benefits, but some won’t allow you to have a card at all if you already have insurance.
- If you use mail order for some of your scripts, does the card cover mail order too? Will you still need to pay postage?
It’s a good idea to compare the savings with the card compared to other ways of purchasing medications, such as switching pharmacies. That way, you’ll know whether this is an option that makes sense for you.
Let’s take a look at some popular prescription discount cards and see what they have to offer.
Popular Prescription Discount Cards
How to sign up: Sign up for free on the website. You can download your card instantly, or have emailed or texted right to you.
Restrictions: No age or income restrictions.
Pharmacies: 65,000 + nationwide
What’s covered: All prescription medications.
How to use: Print out your card and bring it with you, or use the WellRx app.
Usage limits: No
Share with others in the household: Yes
Savings: Average 60%, sometimes as high as 80%.
Covers generic drugs: Yes
If you have insurance: You can still use WellRx for any prescriptions not covered by insurance. If you have Medicare Part D, you can use WellRx for any prescriptions that are not included in Medicare Part D. If you have Medicare but are not enrolled in Part D, you can use WellRx freely.
Anything else: Online medication manager so you can track your pills and refills, set reminders to take or refill, quick search your favorite pharmacies and most regularly used medicines, and get access to further offers and helpful information.
Customers love: The reviews we saw for WellRx were overwhelmingly positive. Lots of people were pleasantly surprised by the savings and loved that the card also cut out pharmacy-to-pharmacy price shopping.
Customers aren’t so keen on: Some people were naturally disappointed when the discount price they found online didn’t match the price they were offered in store. WellRx addresses this on their website by explaining that although their aim is always to provide the best cash discount, prescription charges are volatile and sometimes the pharmacy simply can’t or won’t offer the projected discount.
Our verdict: Free, easy to sign up, and offers great savings across the board – what’s not to love!
How to sign up: Sign up for free on the website.
Restrictions: No income or age restrictions.
Pharmacies: 35,000 + nationwide
What’s covered: Over 50,000 different medications.
How to use: Present your card in the store, or use the app.
Savings: Up to 80%
Covers generic drugs: Yes
If you have insurance: There are no restrictions on SingleCare use, so even if a medication is covered by your insurance, you can still use SingleCare instead if the price works out lower than your insurance copay.
Anything else: You can search online for your prescription and instantly find the best savings near you today.
Customers love: As expected, customers love being able to save money on their prescriptions! We saw several people mention that they need expensive drugs which they simply couldn’t afford without SingleCare’s help.
Customers aren’t so keen on: We noticed more complaints about SingleCare’s prices not matching what was offered at the pharmacy than we did for WellRx. We also noticed a few people saying they’d got better savings with GoodRx, so decided to return to them.
Our verdict: We like the fact that you can use SingleCare instead of your insurance even if your insurance covers a medication – that way you can always choose your cheapest option. However, the substantially lower number of participating pharmacies and a higher number of complaints could be an issue. As it’s free, however, there’s no harm in checking it out to see what you can save.
Cost: GoodRx is free. Do not confuse with GoodRx Gold, a separate program with a fee.
How to sign up: No sign up necessary. Just use the free website with a free app as well.
Restrictions: No age or income restrictions
Pharmacies: 70,000+ in the US, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands
What’s covered: No statement made as to the number of drugs covered.
How to use: Just go to the website and type in the drug you need. Answer questions about the form, strength, and quantity, whether generic or prescription, your geographical location, etc.
Usage limits: No
Share with others in the household: Free for all members of your family including pets.
Savings: As high as 80%, sometimes more.
Covers generic drugs: Yes
If you have insurance: The GoodRx price may be less than that with your insurance, so you can choose which price to pay.
Anything else: Whether you use the website or the app, you can look for the least expensive pharmacy.
Customers love: The ease of use of the site and the app. The range of drugs covered, and that the list of generic drugs is shown first. Having a coupon that can be printed-up or sent directly to their phone which they can then show the pharmacist. Definite savings.
Customers aren’t so keen on: Some clients have reported the coupons are not always accepted. Not all medications covered. Prices stated by GoodRx may be in the ballpark but be lower than the actual pharmacy price; good to call ahead to be sure.
Our verdict: According to customer reviews, GoodRx largely delivers on its promises of substantial savings. Even those with insurance can choose between GoodRx’s price or their copay. Many love that pet medications apply, and that the whole family is covered for free. The free app is a plus, and no plastic cards needed. Customer service seems very receptive and accessible for complaints. Bottom line, GoodRx deserves to be considered for prescription needs.
So long as you read the small print and don’t pay a fee, prescription discount cards are a low-risk money-saving tool. You don’t have anything to lose, but you could gain some fantastic savings on your medications. Why not follow the tips in this article and give one a try?