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Comparing Prescription Prices To Save Myself A Ton Of Money.

Within a few weeks, I will be without insurance for the first time in my adult. Why? Well, a few reasons. The biggest reason, and the one I have not mentioned here yet, is that my wife and I are divorcing and I have been on her group insurance plan. She has amazing insurance (one advantage to being a teacher, I suppose) that I will no longer have access to as soon as the divorce is final, unfortunately. And to continue with COBRA under her plan, it would cost me over $500 a month – an expense I cannot incur at this time. The second reason, and why I cannot get insurance on my own, is actually two-fold:

1. I am self-employed, so I need to buy private insurance
2. I cannot get private insurance because I had cancer last year

So, I will be without health insurance until this country joins the rest of the civilized world in offering a government-sponsored health plan for people like myself, I get a job at Starbucks, or I get married to someone in a group plan. Fantastic! Anyway, that’s not my main point of writing this post and I will cover this more in-depth in a future one. For now, I just wanted to talk about buying prescriptions when you don’t have insurance. Did you know that the “no insurance” price for medication varies by quite a bit depending on where you buy it? Even if a Target and a Walmart are right next door to each other, their prices can vary. And since I am on a medication that I take every morning (and need to continue taking), I had to start shopping for the cheapest place to buy my medicine from. I was honestly surprised by what I found out, and I imagine there are a ton of people paying way more than they need to for their daily meds. Some pharmacies discount for supplies longer than 30 days, but some don’t, so I am basing this on a per-month basis.

  • Local pharmacy here in Taos – $17.50 per month
  • Target in Denver – $28.99 per month
  • Walmart in Denver – $23.00 per month (although even if they were free, I wouldn’t get them here)
  • Costco – $12.56 per month (90 day only $23!)
  • Walgreens in Denver – $29.99 per month

The clear winner? Costco, by a long shot. They are $5 less per month than the next cheapest, my current pharmacy for the 9 days I have left in New Mexico. And if I get 90 days at a time from Costco, the price drops to $7.66 per month, which is crazy amount of savings over the regular pharmacies. The best part? You don’t need to be a member of Costco to use their pharmacy! Since I will be a single guy once again, I don’t have much need for bulk amounts of milk from the store, so it’s good that I don’t need a membership to get my discounted drugs.

prescription

So for those of you who might not have insurance (or not very good insurance, at least) might want to call up all the local pharmacies in your area and ask them how much your meds cost. I am so glad I did, as it looks like it is going to save me quite a bit of money each and every month. Now if Costco could just offer me health insurance, I would be all set…

Photo from Shutterstock


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Comments (6)

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  1. Bill says:

    I don’t know what everyone has against Walmart but I had my Dr. change all my pills (diabetes) to pills on their $4 plan. I went from paying $60 in co-pays to $12/month. Now you can pay $10 for 3 month supplies it is even better.

    The thing I’d be more worried about if I was you is what do you do when your prescriptions expire?

  2. David says:

    I don’t shop at Walmart because of their business practices. It’s a personal choice for me.

    I would just go see the doctor again and get a new prescription.

  3. Bill says:

    My prescriptions run for 3 months and the cost to see my Dr. every three months is $205. Far out weighing the cost of the pills. If I was without health insurance I would be looking at getting my pills from Canada where you can get most drugs without prescriptions.

  4. Zengirl says:

    David,

    I am so sorry that you are going through a divorce! You write so positive stuff, it is hard to imagine. I do not have any words of wisdom to change anything except you will be in my prayers and best wishes!

  5. David says:

    Thank you Zengirl, I appreciate your thoughts 🙂

  6. […] As you can see, in the chart above, the list price from Costco is almost always less. If you don’t have insurance, you’re going to save a ridiculous amount of money on necessary prescriptions. If you have insurance, you’ll pay whatever the cheapest price is between the standard list price and your copay. At standard pharmacies and grocery store pharmacies, the prices are almost always higher and fluctuate wildly between locations. […]

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