How to save money at the pharmacy
The price which employees pay out of pocket at pharmacies is steadily increasing. Even with a 100% coverage healthcare plan, employees still pay a dispensing fee of up to thirteen dollars, and often there is an additional fee that is not covered by the plan.
Where does the additional fee come from?
Pharmacies, like all businesses, need to make a profit. Healthcare plans do not usually cover the markup that pharmacies charge, and thus this markup is paid out of pocket by consumers.
Many pharmacies are dramatically increasing their markup because of new regulations, effective April 2012 in Ontario. These regulations restrict how much profit pharmacies can make from the government, and thus they are increasing markup in order to gain profit from consumers and business owners.
When pricing drugs, pharmacies refer to a drug formulary, which is a comprehensive list of drugs. Formularies categorize medication, indicate which drugs are covered, and contain the fair market price.
Here are some tips on saving money at the pharmacy:
1) Be a smart shopper, and realize you can shop the market. Drugs stores with the lowest markup and dispensing fees based on private audits conducted by Beneplan are Costco and Walmart.
2) Look for alternatives, such as mail order pharmacies to avoid high fees (Ex: Alliance pharmacy group)
3) Negotiate with the owner of the pharmacy for better prices. Many pharmacies will lower their markup, their dispensing fee to avoid losing customers