Law could be keeping you from getting the best price at the pharmacy

U.S. & World

It’s a law that gives insurance companies control of what a pharmacists can say to you.

It bars pharmacists from telling you if its cheaper to pay cash for your meds or go through your insurance company. 

Under this law, health insurance companies enjoy a heftier profit by keeping them quiet.

“This is something that there is no reason at all should exist,” said Representative Buddy Carter, a Republican from Georgia.

Most people don’t know, sometimes its much cheaper to ask for a cash price instead of just paying the co-pay.

“Their co-payment was gonna be $1,300 and she asked,” said Carter. “She had enough knowledge to inquire how much would it be if I paid cash and it was $40”

Congressman Carter is sponsoring the House bill version–  there’s also a Senate version– they say it will save millions of Americans money.

“For example, NBC did a piece that showed that a consumer who had a copay of $43 for a cholesterol drug would have only paid $19 if that consumer had only paid out of pocket,” said Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine.

“They had two drugs for me to choose from and which one did I want?” asked Norman Augustine, with the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. “One was $86. The other was $5. And I said, ‘What’s the difference?’ And they said they’re identical. So I said, ‘I think I’ll go with the $5 drug.’ So why couldn’t they make that decision for me? They’re not allowed to.”

President Trump has said he supports pharmacists sharing more information with you.

Not every prescription drug is cheaper by paying cash, but many common drugs are.

Here’s what you can do:

First ask your pharmacist what the cost would be without their insurance. 

Also call pharmacies to find out which one offers the best cash price.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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