The “he said/she said” of Rx pricing tools
If you’ve ever used a prescription price-check tool for an Rx savings program (like ScriptSave WellRx), only to have been told a different price when the time came to collect & pay for the prescription at the pharmacy, then the next few paragraphs are for you.
Regardless of the product or service, it’s an infuriating thing to be quoted one price online, and then be confronted with a different reality at the store (unless, of course, the price comes down – then we love it).
What can be done to avoid bad price-quotes?
For patients using prescription savings programs, there are a few steps that can be taken to help reduce the potential for errors with an Rx price-check tool.
In short, there are some very important things to keep in mind when doing a price look-up with a prescription discount card (and overlooking any single one of them has the potential to make a mess of things).
In no particular order, at ScriptSave WellRx we always recommend that our members keep the following pointers in mind:
- #1. Prescription prices can be volatile and it’s not uncommon to find regular (even daily) price changes across pharmacies in any given zip code.
When using a price-check tool or mobile app to review the lowest prescription prices in your zip code, be sure to perform one final look-up on the same day that you end up collecting & paying for your script. As frustrating as it might be to discover that prices changed for your medication overnight, it’s far less frustrating to realize this before you leave home. Especially if you also discover that the same medication actually came down in price at a different pharmacy nearby (perhaps even giving you the opportunity to make arrangements to transfer the prescription).
- #2. Prescription medications come in many different strengths, forms, quantities, etc. There’s also the matter of brands & generics.
A prescription price-check tool (like on the ScriptSave WellRx website or app) has to start somewhere. The default settings on the website will generally only return pricing results for one very specific version of each medication. For example, perhaps the price-check tool will show results for the most commonly filled strength, quantity, form and manufacturer of the medication that you’re searching. When the results of your price-check are returned by the website or app, ALWAYS take a few minutes to review the details against the details on your prescription … and make the necessary manual changes (if any are needed) using the drop-down menus that determine the drug’s Strength, Quantity, Form, Brand/Generic, etc. (see Fig.1)
- #3. Your pharmacist does not recognize or is not familiar with your prescription savings card.
If you’re using the ScriptSave WellRx card or mobile app, you can be confident that if your pharmacy showed up in our price-check tool, it’s more than likely that we have a contract with them to accept the savings card. We do our best to keep our database up-to-date so as not to send members on a wild goose chase. Perhaps the best way to approach using a ScriptSave WellRx card is to do so with confidence. Although this program is NOT insurance, an Rx savings card includes the same pharmacy processing information that pharmacists see & use every day on all the different insurance cards they deal with. That being the case, simply hand your ScriptSave WellRx card to the pharmacist, point to where the card shows the Rx BIN, Rx PCN, etc. and ask the following question:
“Would you please process my prescription using these details and let me know what my out-of-pocket cost will be?”
If you’re absolutely sure that you’ve taken care of these 3 common issues and yet you’re still facing prices at the pharmacy that are higher than the quotes being shown on the ScriptSave WellRx website/app, there’s one more thing to double-check…
- #4. Your pharmacist used a different discount card.
There are a number of reasons why this might have happened – and it can certainly be the result of an easy & honest mistake. For example, the ScriptSave WellRx card includes a set of codes that the pharmacist must enter into the computer before being able to tell you the price of your medication. If you look at your ScriptSave WellRx savings card or coupon, you’ll see where it says “RxBIN: 006053” (together with RxPCN, Group # and ID #). Similar codes also appear on insurance cards and they work in the same way. As with insurance, if you visit the same pharmacy each time, the pharmacist usually save your name, address, DoB, etc. in their secure database for speed & convenience next time you visit. As part of your saved pharmacy record, the pharmacy also stores a record of any insurance card or Rx Savings program that has been used in the past. Therefore, if you’ve used a different savings card but have since discovered more favorable pricing with ScriptSave WellRx, it’s very possible that the pharmacist simply assumed that your stored details were the same as the details on the WellRx card that you just handed him/her. Also keep in mind that no pharmacist ever wants a patient not to be able to afford their prescribed medications. As such, they’re often on the lookout for ways to help their patients afford their meds (even if the patient doesn’t realize it). Therefore, even if you think you’ve never used a prescription savings card in your life before, it’s certainly not unheard of for a pharmacist to have used one on your behalf because he or she knew that it would save you some money and help you out. If that’s the case, the details from any such card that may have been used for you without you realizing, may very well be saved to your profile. This would explain why a) you’re receiving a discount and why b) the level of the discount is not the same as was shown on the website. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with your savings card and next time you think you might be in this situation, politely ask the pharmacist:
“Is there any chance you can double-check the processing details, please? I’d like to be sure we’re using the ScriptSave WellRx details as shown here on this card/coupon/app, because I was quoted a slightly lower price earlier this morning, and I’m sure it was for the same strength & quantity that’s on this prescription?”
U.S. Based Call Center Support
Another useful hint to keep in mind is that all ScriptSave WellRx members are serviced by a toll-free customer support number (staffed by real people right here in the U.S.). If you ever have a problem, you can call the support line toll-free at 1-800-407-8156, Monday through Friday, from 9am to 8pm EST, and our friendly staff will be glad to help get to the bottom of any issues. Given the real-time need that many patients face with filling their prescriptions, if you’ve had issues at a particular pharmacy in the past, it might be helpful to call our support staff ahead of your next visit to fill your prescription. If necessary, our staff may be able to call your pharmacy on your behalf – ahead of your visit – so that everything is smoothed out before you arrive to pick-up and pay.
Final Thought – Love your Pharmacist (and Always Ask the Cash Price)
Please always keep in mind that pharmacists have a LOT going on and they can be incredibly busy. Although they can make it look simple at times, that’s generally a reflection of their professionalism & experience, and their role in a patient’s healthcare is not to be underestimated. Pharmacists are a truly valuable resource and they juggle a lot of different tasks. If you meet a pharmacist who looks at your prescription savings card and doesn’t immediately recognize it, don’t be surprised. We can’t expect every pharmacist, at every pharmacy, to recognize and remember every single savings card and insurance program that they have a contract with. More often than not, if you ask your pharmacist (politely) to try processing your prescription using the details on the card, they will be happy to give it a try. If that doesn’t work, and if you’re using a card from ScriptSave, you have a tollfree support number to call for assistance.
As for “Always Ask the Cash Price” … that’s a must-do for patients who don’t want to over-pay (especially for those WITH prescription insurance). For more insights on this, read our blog post on why you should Always Ask the Cash Price.
If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!