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Medical Edge: Pharmacy Discount Cards

CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- As new health care changes take effect in 2014, you may been getting discount cards for you to take to the pharmacy for medications. 
It appears that cold and flu season has kicked in and if you go to your doctor's office for treatment this new year or go to the pharmacy  to get a new prescription, you may notice changes to your health care plan have kicked in too. That means you may have different co-pays or drug coverage compared to last year.
In addition to those changes, you might also have received some cards in the mail that say bring these into your pharmacy for a discount. So what does that really mean and do they work?  We wanted to ask the experts at this pharmacy to find out.
Marla Irvin is a pharmacist who says the cards can help save you money by giving you discounts on some medications. But those cards are not likely an advantage over your own plan, if you do have prescription coverage under your health care plan. Irvin says if bring both your plans card and a discount card to the pharmacy.

"You could run both of them to see if there's a better deal on one or the other."
If you do not have health insurance and prescription coverage, when it comes to the discount programs offered on the cards, "Sometimes those programs will not get them a better deal than just a regular cash price at the pharmacy."
She reminds all of us that a pharmacist can be a great resource in helping you find more affordable medications.

"If they notice that you don't have any other coverage, and a prescription is very expensive,  there could be a drug that's been on the market a little longer. They could call your physician and say Mrs. Smith doesn't have coverage, and what you wrote is very expensive, can we try a lesser expensive drug in the class to accommodate the condition you are trying to treat."
Irvin says the discount cards are a good conversation starter with your pharmacist. If you get more than one in the mail, feel free to bring in any or all of them for comparison.




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