September > Be a Wise Healthcare Consumer

Be a Wise Healthcare Consumer

Prescription coupons that make you pay MORE

In a tough economy, coupons for certain prescription drugs seem like a good way to save money. What you may not know is that these coupons often drive up costs for health plans, turning savings today into potentially much higher costs for all of us tomorrow.

Coupons: Short-term gain becomes long-term pain.
Brand-name drugs often cost more than generic medications. And so the brand manufacturers often use coupons to sway you into getting the more expensive product. If you decide to get a brand because you have a coupon from the manufacturer, then yes, you’ll pay less for it, but the insurance plan will continue to pay the same high share of the drug’s cost. That can quickly add up to thousands of dollars—possibly resulting in higher healthcare premiums or co‑payments for all of us. Before we know it, a one-time savings from a coupon can turn into a long-term strain on our budget.

It’s easy to find real prescription savings.
Compare the prices of brands and generics. In most cases, you’ll help keep costs lower by filling prescriptions with generics whenever possible. FDA-approved generics not only cost less for us and our plan, they’re safe and they meet the same U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards of quality and purity as the brand versions.

If a generic isn’t available, consider using a brand-name drug that’s less expensive. Visit My Rx Choices at to find potential lower-cost alternatives under our plan, and ask your doctor which alternative would be right for you. You may discover that you’ll pay even less for some medications by using the Medco Pharmacy mail-order service. (Mail-order prescriptions can’t be combined with manufacturers’ coupons.) If you haven’t visited the Medco website before, please take a moment to register so you can get the full services of our plan’s prescription benefit. Have your member ID number and a recent prescription number handy.

The next time you consider using a drug manufacturer’s coupon, make sure you have enough information to consider the negative impact that repeated coupon use may have on our premiums. To see what you and our plan pay for a particular medication, visit and click “Price a medication.”