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And these are just a few. But don’t worry. We have the answers and tools to help.
People don’t always understand what goes into how much you pay for a drug. You may think whatever your pharmacy says you owe for what your doctor prescribes is what you’re stuck with paying.
You may have more control over the cost you pay than you think. Here are some ways you can take charge of your drug costs.
Ask for a generic: Generic drugs may be just as effective as brand name drugs. If there is a generic available for a drug your doctor wants you to take, you may be able to try it first. If it doesn’t work well, then you may be able to switch to the brand name drug.
Generics are often cheaper than a brand name drug. In fact, generics can be as much as 85 percent less than brand name drugs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration explains why generic drugs may be the best choice.
Compare prices: Just like grocery stores and gas stations, pharmacies can charge different prices. A prescription that costs $12 at one pharmacy may be just $4 at another.
We also have certain pharmacies that work with us to help keep costs as low as possible for our members. You can find the list of these network pharmacies by logging in to your Blue Access for MembersSM (BAMSM) account. After you log in, go to the Coverage section and click on Pharmacy.
If you have Prime Therapeutics (Prime) as your pharmacy administrator, you can also find network pharmacies by logging in to your account on MyPrime.com. And the drug price estimator on the MyPrime site can compare prices for you from the pharmacies in the Prime network. After you log in to MyPrime, click Pharmacies and enter your location. Then you can click Select Medicines, type in the medicine name and pick the pharmacies you want to compare.
Check your drug list: The plan you have uses its own drug list. That means not every drug on the market is covered. Unfortunately, doctors don’t always check your drug list before they prescribe medicine. If a drug seems expensive when you go to have it filled, it could be that it isn’t on your drug list or may be in a higher payment tier.
You can see what is on your drug list by logging in to your BAM account or the MyPrime site. If it isn’t on the list, call your doctor’s office and ask them to prescribe a drug from your list. You have the right to use a lower cost drug for your condition that is just as effective if one is available.
One last thing: There may be limits or special requirements placed on your medicines before they are covered. These checks are put in place to make sure you are getting the right medication at the right dose for you. It may mean that your doctor will need to submit the drug for approval.
Learn more about these special requirements at the pharmacy section of our website.
Trips to the pharmacy are a necessary part of life, especially for people living with illnesses like high blood pressure or diabetes.
But between getting to and from work, making dinner, helping kids with homework or hitting the gym, it can be hard to fit those trips into your routine.
You may be able to make fewer trips and still get the medicine you need. Depending on your benefit plan, you could get up to a 90-day supply of drugs from a select retail pharmacy or delivered directly to your home.
If you switch to home delivery, you can:
Originally published 11/18/2019; Revised 2022
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
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