We’ve all been there, waiting in line at the pharmacy to drop off that prescription, eager to get it filled. Many of us don’t consider the cost of our prescription drugs, especially when a comprehensive employee benefits plan is in place that immediately covers all, or most of the expense. Did you know that 70% of every dollar spent on benefits plans in Canada goes towards the cost of prescription drug claims? The average prescription costs between $50 and $75. For recurring prescriptions, this could quickly add up to $600-$900 per year. That is a significant amount!
Here are a few simple ways that you can save money for yourself, and for your company benefits plan, the next time you visit the pharmacy.
Use Generic Drugs wherever possible
Generic drugs are often up to 75% less expensive than their brand name counter parts. According to Health Canada, generic drugs have the same active ingredients and are identical to brand name drugs in dose, strength and how they are taken. They are equally safe and effective. The only difference in make-up is their inactive ingredients - the binders, fillers and dyes used to give the drugs their shape and colour. These differences have no effect on the drug’s active ingredients or how it works.
Check out the link below for a video from the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan for more info on the topic.
Save on Brand Name Drugs by using a Pharmacy Discount Card
If the brand name drug is something that you prefer, then you may want to consider these 2 Pharmacy Discount Cards, which can save you money.
Innovicares is a free program that gives you access to specific brand name drugs at an equal or similar price to the generic equivalent. Sign up below and receive your free card that is accepted by 98% of pharmacies.
RXhelp is another program designed to assist in getting you the brand name drug that you want for an equal or similar price to the generic equivalent. This program also helps to reduce the patients out of pocket costs that are not covered by the private or public plan. Sign up to receive your free card at:
You can pop on these two sites to do a search to see if your drug is covered.
•Government Sponsored Prescription Drug Programs
Trillium Drug Program (TDP) is designed to assist people with high prescription drug costs relative to their household income. The program covers all of the drugs that have been approved under the Ontario Drug Benefit plan (ODB). Exceptions can be made and applied for with your doctor through the Exceptional Access Program (EAP) for medications that are not listed on the ODB. Follow the link below for more info about Trillium.
Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB). The ODB consists of a formulary (listing) of drugs that are eligible for coverage. The program covers the majority of the cost of over 4,300 prescription drugs and related products.
You are eligible for the ODB program benefits if you live in Ontario, you have a valid Ontario health card and at least one of these statements applies to you:
- I am 65 years of age or older
- I live in a Long-Term Care Home or a Home for Special Care
- I am enrolled in the Home Care program
- I have high drugs costs relative to my income and am registered in the Trillium Drug Program
- I receive social assistance through Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program
Follow the link below for more info on the Ontario Drug Benefit program.
If you have questions about prescription drug coverage, or any of the ways to save at the pharmacy, don’t hesitate to contact your broker for more information and guidance. Next time you are waiting in line, know exactly what is coming out of your pocket.