By In Health Insurance Utilization, Prescription Drugs

Another Example of Why You Should Always Ask the Price

My wife went to the pharmacy the other day to refill a prescription. We changed insurance on January 1, so when they told her the first time she got the it filled three weeks ago that our plan didn’t cover the prescription we needed for one of our kids, it didn’t seem out of the ordinary. In fact, the pharmacy was nice enough to give us a discount through GoodRx — something I talked about in this post.

Well, it turns out that the discount was a whole lot more than we should have paid, anyway.

When the pharmacist told my wife our Rx would be $152, she texted me just to commiserate about the high cost and ask if it was because of our new insurance. I said yes but that they gave us a discount to get it down to $90 and that she should be sure to ask if they can give it to us again. That ask set off a series of events that blew our minds.

When my wife asked if we could get a discount, she said she’d check and at first said it was a one-time discount we’d gotten before. But then she looked more closely and told us that someone had coded the prescription, or maybe our insurance, or both — she wasn’t very clear about what she was doing — wrong in the system. That’s why it was showing up as costing us so much.

What was the cost we should have paid? $12. That’s right, twelve dollars.

Of course, upon hearing this good news, my wife asked if we could be refunded for the $78 overpayment we’d made the first time around. At first, the pharmacist told us that we’d have to talk to our insurer since it was more than two weeks since our purchase. I like saving money but I’ll be honest, I don’t think I would have chased the refund if that were the case because getting a refund from a health insurer takes WAY more than $78 worth of effort.

Luckily, the pharmacist was able to work around that requirement and got us our refund. And, in fact, they couldn’t figure out how to charge us the $12 we should have been charged the first time around, so we ended up getting a full $90 refund on that prescription from a few weeks ago and got our $12 charge, instead of $90 or $152, for the refill.

I said in the headline that this is another case-in-point for why you should always ask the price. And that’s definitely true but it’s still not fool-proof because I had been diligent about asking price the first time around.

I think what I’ll have to do in the future is, after they tell me the price with insurance and/or all discounts applied, say “Are you suuurrrre that’s the price?” and then stare at them uncomfortably until they offer to knock a few more dollars off the cost!

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