Paying out of pocket for prescription drugs may save you money

Paying out of pocket for prescription drugs may save you money
(Source: Jeff Knight/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new investigation now will make you think twice before using your insurance to buy prescription drugs. We've learned paying out of pocket, may actually be cheaper.

An NBC News investigation found under certain insurance plans, patients are being charged up to $100 more for generic medications. That means if you pay out of pocket, you could actually save money.

It's all because of something called a gag clause. It keeps pharmacy employees from telling you that you can save money by paying out of pocket, instead of using your insurance. It's a clawback policy that pays pharmacy middlemen for negotiating how much insurance companies will pay for a drug.

Not all benefit managers enforce the clause, but those used by United Healthcare and Cigna are being sued.

Cigna won't comment on the lawsuit. United Healthcare says "pharmacies should always charge our members the lowest amount under their benefit plans."

We've learned you can unlock this gag clause by asking your pharmacist if there is a less expensive alternative or if what they're charging you is the cheapest option.

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