5 Ways to Get the Best Value from Prescription Drug Benefits
October 27, 2019
The Ascension prescription drug plan is automatically included with your SmartHealth medical coverage. The plan is administered by Cigna, our pharmacy benefit manager. We know that, for many, prescription medications can be a significant part of your out-of-pocket medical costs. Here are some tips on using your prescription drug benefits to get the most for your money.
1. Learn what drugs are covered and their coverage levels. Save money by checking out the Ascension formulary www.cigna.com/ascension. The amount you pay depends on the type of medication you use: generic, preferred brand name, non-preferred brand name or specialty.
2. Compare prices. Use the prescription drug price quote tool on myCigna.com to determine the cost. Compare prices for 30-day and 90-day supplies, as well as costs for alternative medications. Different retail pharmacies have different Cigna-negotiated prices, so it makes sense to see which pharmacies have the lowest prices for your medication. Comparing prices is especially important if you are in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) because you will be responsible for the full cost of drugs until your deductible is met.
3. Choose generic drugs. Reduce your cost by choosing generic drugs when they are available. Before filling a prescription for a brand name drug, ask your doctor if a generic is available that would be right for you. By law, generic drugs must have the same effect on the body—the same active ingredients in the same strength—as the brand name product. The difference between generic and brand drugs is in the cost. For example, the average prescription cost of a generic drug is approximately $30 compared with an average cost of $268 for a brand name drug. This is why copays and coinsurance are lower when you choose a generic drug over the brand name equivalent.
4. Purchase 90-day supplies. Save money by ordering a 90-day supply of your regular prescriptions. Your cost for a 90-day supply is less than three 30-day supplies, so it’s like getting a few weeks of your medication for free.
5. Use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). FSAs and HSAs allow you to pay for medical expenses, including prescriptions, with pre-tax earnings.