Baton Rouge: With high prescription drug prices posing challenges for many consumers across the country, the popularity of prescription drug coupon cards has been on the rise. The Louisiana Department of Insurance is offering guidance on these cards and also urging patients to always ask their pharmacist whether a coupon, insurance or cash will offer the most savings.
There are two main types of coupon cards offered to patients. The first are “copay cards” that are issued by pharmaceutical companies for brand-name drugs. These copay cards are given to health care providers to distribute to patients. Pharmacies process patients’ insurance first and then treat the co-pay coupon as another form of payment.
The second type of card is a “savings card” issued by a third party (not the drug manufacturer) and is different from the copay cards. In order to use this type of card, the consumer must be paying the cash price for the medicine and cannot also use their insurance coverage. In nearly every instance, a patient with health insurance will save money using their insurance coverage to pay for medication instead of a savings card. Also remember that if you have insurance and use a savings card instead, the money you spent will not count toward your insurance deductible or out-of-pocket maximum.
“High prescription drug prices are a real challenge nationally and while these savings cards may seem like a better deal, we advise patients to first ask their pharmacist whether using their insurance or prescription drug coupon card will result in a savings,” said Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. “I always advise consumers to shop around and ask questions when it comes to using their insurance and paying for prescription drugs is no exception.”
Consumers can view the list of companies registered as Discount Medical Plans on the Louisiana Department of Insurance website’s Company Search feature. Commissioner Donelon urges consumers who feel uneasy about any insurance related transaction to call the Fraud Division of the Louisiana Department of Insurance at 225-342-4956 or 1-800-259-5300. Any caller reporting suspected insurance fraud that does not want their name used can request that their involvement be kept confidential.