Fanny Fern, a 19th century newspaper columnist and humorist, is often credited with saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Well, with no offense intended to Ms. Fern, we contend that the way to a person’s heart is through his or her wallet.
More to the point: If you can help people save money, you’ll be their hero.
During a recent webinar that we co-hosted with SHRM – “12 Benefits Communication Hacks to Help Your Employees Understand their HDHP- we suggested that one way HR executives can help their employees manage the transition from a more traditional health insurance plan to an HDHP is by referring them to a prescription drug price comparison tool, so that they can be smart about where to spend their FSA or HSA money and how they want to chip away at their deductible. We got TONS of questions from our audience of over 1,300 webinar attendees asking us for recommendations of a good tool.
So, in our never-ending quest to help you achieve hero status in the eyes of your employees, we thought it would be helpful to give you a thorough review of our favorite (and free!) prescription drug price comparison tool – GoodRx – so that you can confidently pass this along to your colleagues and help them save some cash. (In fact, we like GoodRx so much, we refer to it in our product ALEX: Making the Most of Your Plan, an interactive solution that helps employees use their health insurance plan wisely.)
1. GoodRx is super easy-to-use
GoodRx’s user interface looks like a search engine , so it’s really easy to figure out what to do. Just type in your drug’s name (in my example I’m using Synthroid), hit “Find the Lowest Price” button, and voila, you get a search result that looks like this:
To be honest, there were some surprises for me. I expected Walmart to be the cheapest, but I didn’t think they’d be almost 10% less than Walgreens. I also expected Walgreens and CVS to be pretty close to the same, but I was wrong: CVS was more than 5% higher than Walgreens. So, if your employee used Synthroid, he or she could save more than $72 a year switching from Target to Walmart – not too shabby – and all due to your suggestion!
Additionally, the Good Rx prices with Free Coupons can be less for an employee than the prices she would see via her HDHP. Though using the Good Rx cost in this case wouldn’t automatically count against an HDHP’s deductible and therefore be a little less convenient for the employee to claim deductible credit (as you probably know, this transaction is treated as a discounted cash transaction and in most cases the receipts for it would have to be submitted later to claim the cost against the deductible), GoodRx provides your employees with more choice and control of how they spend their money.
2. The GoodRx results are local and (mostly) comprehensive
Another cool thing about GoodRx is that the price comparisons are local. I put in my zip code, and the site provided me with the local addresses, phone numbers and hours of operation of the stores nearby.
Though I know most of the drugstores near my house, I used the site to find locations near my work and along the route of my commute home.
GoodRx claims to have drug prices at over 75,000 pharmacies, and I believe it. Most of the results I saw in my area were from large chain drugstores or grocery stores. I did not see any independent stores, so your employees may have to do some manual comparisons with these types of stores is they’re interested in that information.
3. Registration is not required (but it’s worth it if you choose to sign up)
I am not a big fan of sites that require registration before using them, and I’m happy to report that GoodRx doesn’t require registration. However, registration for GoodRx IS worth it for three primary reasons:
a. Register your prescriptions and get price alerts. You can register all of your prescriptions and sign up for price alerts that are tailored just to them. In addition to price alerts, you’ll also get notified of coupons, drug recalls and other savings tips.
b. Add your Medicare plan, if you have one. You will be prompted to select your type of plan (Medicare Part D or Advantage) as well as your plan name. Based on your plan information, the site will dynamically generate the right price. I have to admit that this is pretty slick!
c. “My Best Pharmacy” feature. If a person has multiple prescriptions, “My Best Pharmacy” combines the cost of all the prescriptions and shows what the total cost is at all nearby pharmacies, giving the registrant a one-stop-lowest-cost option.
4. GoodRx has a mobile app.
With the GoodRx mobile app, users can check for lowest price for their prescriptions easily while they’re on the go, find nearby pharmacies, get the most updated savings coupons and basically do everything that’s on goodrx.com.
P.S. The app is rated 4 stars on the iTunes app store.
5. GoodRx has a really great pill identifier tool and regular and timely information on prescriptions specific to the user.
With the GoodRx Pill Identifier, a person can quickly figure out what a particular pill is by its imprint, color and or shape. This is especially handy if a person has multiple prescription pills or manages prescriptions for other people or family members. I tried 5 different pills and it successfully identified every one of them.
And finally, GoodRx has a great blog with all sorts of great prescription pill information and ways to save money. In fact, and speaking of HSAs and HDHPs, here’s a great, practical post on how these plans and programs can be used in conjunction with GoodRx to save lots of money.
One of the big upsides to HDHPs is that they give your employees more power and say in how they spend their healthcare dollars. But as the old saying goes (the origin of which is debated, by the way): “With great power comes great responsibility.” GoodRx will help your employees be more responsible with their healthcare spending, and by responsible I mean spend less on their prescription drugs.
And who will get the credit in the eyes of your employees for letting them know about GoodRx? Why you of course.
Welcome to the Hall of Justice, my friend!
P.S. If you want to go and check other prescription drug price comparison tools, here’s a list to get you started:
And here’s a good resource on About.com for How to Compare Drug Prices Online.
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