Like lots of people, I spend a good deal of time scratching my head about health care costs. I'm particularly sensitive on a personal level, because the health insurance that I have has a very high deductible - $10,000 a year for me and my daughter. We get a handful of things "for nothing", that is, outside of the deductible - like well visits, flu shots and mammograms - but we pay the "contracted" rate for everything else. That's things like sonograms, sick visits, lab work, prescriptions, casts, colonoscopies and all those other things one might need.
I recently had to refill two prescriptions for maintenance medications. I usually just get them at CVS, but I thought I'd check out the mail order website offered by the insurance company. Back in the day when I had an insurance plan with co-pays, you could get mail order drugs for less. One co-pay would get you 30 days at a retail drugstore, but two co-pays (double, that is) would get you 90 days worth of meds by mail order. Since there was a decent savings, it was worth the hassle of doing it by mail order.
Alas - it's not like that anymore, at least not through my insurance. While the pricing on the brand name versions of the two drugs was more or less comparable between retail and mail order, with mail order coming in slightly lower on the price per pill, I was a bit dumbfounded to find that the generic versions of the mail order drugs weren't less, they were actually A LOT more.
|Source||Quantity||Patient’s Cost||Cost Per Day|
|DRUG A||Mail-order pharmacy||90||$58.94||$0.65|
|DRUG A||Mail-order pharmacy||90||$400.49||$4.45|
|DRUG B||Mail-order pharmacy||90||$101.85||$1.13|
|DRUG B||Mail-order pharmacy||90||$474.12||$5.27|
In fact, it's so much more that I can't see how anyone would actually want to buy their (generic) drugs that way. Besides, even though CVS isn't exactly a local company, buying my drugs at the CVS that's down the road apiece keeps some of my money local, in the form of employee salaries and rent paid.
What is going on here?