How I Save BIG On Prescriptions and Blood Work

posted by Andrea | 10/23/2018

This post is NOT sponsored. As always, all opinions are my own!

Over the course of our married life, Dave and I have been blessed with very good health. We’ve hardly ever been sick, we usually only visit the doctor for routine checkups, and we’ve hardly had to fill any prescriptions or pay for any medically-related expenses.

This past summer, however, we had to fill several prescriptions for various ailments and random issues:

  • Swimmers ear for Nora
  • Double ear infection for Simon
  • Weird rash cream for James
  • Steroid pills for Dave’s horrible Poison Ivy
  • Prescription-strength anti-itch cream for my slightly less horrible Poison Ivy
  • Generic brand pills for a Thyroid issue

I felt like every week we had a new prescription to fill — and I was SHOCKED by the prices of our local Meijer pharmacy.

Apparently, prescription drug prices are not regulated, so the cost of a prescription could differ by more than $100 between pharmacies!

To make matters worse, over the past 10 years, insurance companies have passed 25-80% more of the cost of drugs onto patients — resulting in more out-of-pocket expenses for me and for you!

Not cool! 

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How I Save on Prescriptions:

I asked one of my doctors to confirm we were getting the generic brands of all our prescriptions — which is when he told me about GoodRx.com as a way to save an INSANE amount of money on prescriptions with almost zero additional effort!

What is Good Rx?

GoodRx.com is a website that gathers current prices and discounts to help you find the lowest cost pharmacy for your prescriptions. GoodRx is 100% free. No personal information required.

I’ve used GoodRx.com a few times now… and saved roughly 75% on each prescription. The only “cost” to me was the fact that I had to drive to a different location than I normally would to pick up the prescription — but it was still local, and definitely worth the savings for me!

Here’s a real-life screenshot of the difference in prices for one of our prescriptions.

If you don’t have the time or desire to “shop around” for different prices on your prescriptions, I would highly recommend using GoodRx to search for the best deal.

Also, one other money-saving tip my Doctor recommended is to ask your doctor for double-dosage pills and then cut them in half. For example, if you need 75mcg per day, have your doctor prescribe 150 mcg pills and cut the pills in half each day. Your price will not be doubled, so you’ll get more bang for your buck.

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How I Save on Blood Work:

Throughout my 4 pregnancies, I had to have periodic blood work done — and to save time, I always just had it done in the lab of my OBGYN… forking out an arm and a leg every time I got the bill.

When I was pregnant with James, I finally learned about Quest Diagnostics, a fantastic way to save BIG BUCKS on almost any type of blood work.

For reference, I was paying well over $100 out of pocket for blood work done through my OBGYN. However, when I switched to Quest Diagnostics, I paid rough $16 — and a few times there was no payment at all!

Another huge benefit of using Quest Diagnostics is that I can quickly and easily make my appointment online, and they open at 6:00am, which means I can get my blood drawn and be home again before 6:30 when Dave needs to leave for school!

I’ve had nothing but fantastic experiences with the staff at our local Quest Diagnostics office, and I will most likely never get my blood work done anywhere else.

As always, please consult your own doctor with any medical questions — but also make sure you ask them about GoodRx and Quest Diagnostics the next time you need to fill a prescription or get blood work done.

Dave and I have saved a BUNCH of money over the years, and I have a feeling you could too!

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Filed under: LifeHealthFrugal Living

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25 comments

  1. Meredith

    10/24/2018

    Thank you for this post. I saved $10 today using goodrx at my regular CVS. Every little bit of savings helps.

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    Andrea Reply:

    awesome — thanks for sharing!

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  2. Avia

    10/24/2018

    A coworker of mine has his dog on a prescription for diabetes. He had always filled the prescription at Walmart and one day decided to fill it at Costco while he was in the store. The price at Costco was $200 more than Walmart. So yes, definitely worth looking around especially if it’s an expensive and regular prescription.

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow –that’s CRAZY expensive for a dog!!

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  3. Ruth

    10/24/2018

    So thankful to live in Canada where blood work and tests don’t cost us anything. We have benefits which pay 80-100% of our prescription costs. Don’t like switching around pharmacies as they don’t have records of your history.

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  4. Erin

    10/23/2018

    As a pharmacist here, I hate to see people jumping from pharmacy to pharmacy for cost reasons. It isn’t safe from a drug interaction perspective and most of your pharmacies price match. I haven’t worked retail pharmacy in a number of years but when I did we price matched any pharmacy in town including Sams club and Costco. Please consider asking your pharmacist first before you start pharmacy hoping.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing — yes, price-matching does sound like the best option.
    Also, I’m NOT advocating for “pharmacy hoping”. I’m advocating for finding the best price in your area and filling your prescription there — continually. Unless the price drastically changes (like doubles unexpectedly) I stay with the same pharmacy month after month. However, I just want to know I’m getting a good price so I’ll search around before filling my prescription.

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    Rhonda Reply:

    I’m also a pharmacist (in a hospital), and in our area I notice that the largest price differences are usually with 1) Walmart $4 list vs other stores, and 2) the local independent pharmacy can offer generic medications (remember, generic doesn’t always mean “cheap”) at better prices than the chain stores (because the independent store might have their own buying group, whereby they can set the prices lower). It pays to do a little research, but unfortunately the reality is that one pharmacy might not be a lower price for ALL medications. I second what Erin said above. It pays to stick with one store and maybe one set of employees who might know you well.

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  5. Kate

    10/23/2018

    Whether or not using Quest will save you money will depend on your insurance. For us, Quest is actually higher. Your doctor’s office may not be higher, it depends on what lab they use. I used to work in a doctor’s office and we used Quest for our labs but we would have to warn our United Healthcare patients that it would be higher. Most of the time they would opt to walk across the street to the hospital.

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    Jen Reply:

    We found this, as well. We pay out of pocket for blood work and LabCorp was MUCH cheaper than Quest AND gave a better cash discount. There are also several online services for blood work (I’m not sure how they work but I have a friend who uses one with great success.) and they are almost always cheaper for standard blood work testing.

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    Andrea Reply:

    interesting, I’ll have to look into LabCorp. We often have ZERO payment when we use Quest, but a few times it has been $10-$20 — not bad!

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  6. Linda B.

    10/23/2018

    Another way to save on prescriptions is to use store coupons for them. I frequently see coupons for if you fill a prescription, they will give you a $25 store gift card. Those are great for one-off prescriptions for things like your rashes and ear issues, Andrea.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes — definitely! We did this over the summer with all our one-time creams and drops and got $25 every time! It was fantastic as the creams and drops only cost $5-$10!

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  7. SUZANNE m KEATING

    10/23/2018

    wow! Thanks for this tip! I take a medication daily and I just found out that I’ve been overpaying for my prescription by quite a bit! I transferred my rx this morning to a cheaper pharmacy! My wallet thanks you 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    yay for more savings!!

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  8. Jen

    10/23/2018

    We do not have “traditional” health insurance right now. When we moved, it was going to cost us $1200/month plus $7000 deductible for health insurance for our family. I did a TON of research, and we ended up going with Christian Healthcare Ministries and have been very happy. The bad thing is that we have to pay for all prescriptions and any “preventive”care out of pocket. I just have to remind myself that while I may not like paying $120 for my annual physical every year, I have not spent $1200/month for insurance I didn’t use. And, we have gotten a cash discount every single time we have paid up front–sometimes it’s been a 40% discount for paying cash at the time of the visit!

    I did another TON of research on low cost prescriptions, and we have found that a Sam’s Club Plus membership has paid for itself time and time again. Sometimes, it’s been even cheaper than GoodRX! I would encourage anyone to check out Sam’s pharmacy. You don’t have to be a Sam’s member to use the pharmacy services, so anyone can do it. You can always call ahead to find out what the cost would be as well.

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    Andrea Reply:

    good to know! Thanks Jen!
    Yes, we have also gotten large discounts for paying at the time of service (and then we get reimbursed from our insurance). a little bit of extra work, but we end of saving quite a bit in the long-run

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  9. Mary Ann

    10/23/2018

    Great tips! I’ll need to check out Good Rx.

    A few years ago, I got a prescription that cost $75/month at CVS but when I shopped around, was only $13 at Sam’s Club. Sam’s is much closer to our home so a bonus! I have now switched that prescription over to Publix since they now offer some meds at no cost and that particular prescription qualified. So right now, I get that one for free!

    I’ve gotten bloodwork done at LabCorp and it is so much less expensive than the doctor’s office!

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — what a huge savings (and closer to your house!) Score!

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  10. Starla J Kreider

    10/23/2018

    I second using GoodRX! One script I needed was $42 at one pharmacy, and only $7.57 at another pharmacy right across the street!

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s a huge savings!

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  11. Michelle Bonk

    10/23/2018

    One comment about using different pharmacies for prescriptions … for us it is important to have all prescriptions at one pharmacy so they can screen for any adverse interactions between differing prescriptions (especially if they are being prescribed by different doctors). We have our pharmacist catch a few!

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    Margaret Reply:

    Seriously endorse this. All kinds of bad things can (and do) happen here, and pharmacists are the people with the training to prevent it.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes good point — we don’t have many prescriptions so I wouldn’t have thought of this.

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    Michelle Bonk Reply:

    Andrea be particularly mindful of thyroid medications. They can interact with other prescriptions.

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