Drug Costs

Prescription Discount Cards vs. Drug Coupons

Savings card vs. savings coupon image scriptsave wellrx

Many people think of coupons and prescription discount cards as the same thing, but there are some key differences you should be aware of before you decide on a program to help you save. First, it’s important to understand what we mean when we talk about these terms.

Prescription Discount Cards

A prescription discount card is a savings card that usually comes from a third-party company, not your insurance provider or drug manufacturer. There are some nuances to how Rx discount cards work, but the main thing you need to know is that you show your card at the pharmacy and use it to get a cheaper cash price on your medications. That price may even be better than your insurance co-pay.

Prescription Coupons

When we’re talking about coupons, it’s important to distinguish between manufacturer drug coupons and prescription discount coupons. Manufacturer coupons, also called co-pay coupons, are issued by the pharmaceutical company that makes a particular brand name drug and can only be used on that brand of drug.

There are some disadvantages to drug manufacturer co-pay coupons.

  • They can only be used for a limited number of refills.
  • Many of these coupons exclude people with Medicare, Medicaid, or other government insurance.
  • There are often generic medications that are significantly cheaper than the brand name versions.
  • Most (not all) manufacturer coupons lower your out-of-pocket cost by a fixed amount. For example, the coupon might say, “save $15 on a 90-day supply of this drug.” This may not give you the best savings since the price of a drug will vary from one pharmacy to another.

Prescription discount coupons are different from manufacturer co-pay coupons because they come from a third-party company, called a Pharmacy Benefit Manager, that negotiates lower rates directly with pharmacies. When using an Rx coupon, consumers should be aware that discount prices can change frequently. Which means that every time you refill a prescription, you have to get a new coupon because the price may have changed. Additionally, prescription discount coupons cannot be used to reduce your insurance co-pay amount, unlike co-pay coupons.

Differences Between Rx Discount Cards and Coupons

Discount drug cards have several key features that distinguish them from coupons.

  • Cards have no refill limits.
  • No expiration date.
  • Discounted Rx prices remain consistent from one refill to the next.

Similar to coupons, pharmacy discount cards can be used regardless of your insurance coverage, but they cannot be used in combination with your insurance co-pay when purchasing your medication. In other words, if you find that your Rx card provides a lower price than your insurance co-pay for a particular medication, you can use the card rather than your insurance to pay for that drug.

In short, prescription savings cards are NOT the same as coupons. There are some similarities, but a card is often the most convenient way to receive savings on your medication. If you would like to start paying less at the pharmacy, download the ScriptSave WellRx card or mobile app today!  

Start Saving Today!

Sample ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings card
ScriptSave WellRx App store linkScriptSave WellRx Play store link


  • […] even let your pharmacist compare all of your price options against the ScriptSave WellRx price. You pay whichever single price is less. Whether it’s time to start stocking up for flu season, time to save money on monthly […]

  • […] I recommend downloading the app and trying the card just once.  There is no cost to do it and you will be surprised how easy it is to shop smart for prescription meds just like you would for anything else.  Prices vary from Pharmacy to Pharmacy and from one day to the next. So you will want to check for every refill to make sure you are still getting the best price.  However, you will have to choose your price rather than combine discounts.  Learn more about saving with cards vs coupons here. […]

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