University of Toledo researchers: Insurance makes some prescriptions more expensive

Researchers compared the costs of prescription drugs with and without insurance
Insurance is supposed to save you money but, researchers at U of Toledo are now saying insurance may actually be costing some customers more.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:51 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Using insurance may actually make buying your prescriptions more expensive according to a study by University of Toledo pharmacy researchers.

The researchers compared the costs of 20 commonly-prescribed generic drugs purchased with insurance and without insurance, through companies like Good RX and Amazon. They found that 40% were less expensive when purchased through Good RX and 20% were less expensive through Amazon.

It’s research that could have big implications for people like Josie McConnell.

“Sometimes I just don’t take my medicine or I will cut it in half,” McConnell said. “I have swallowed my pride a lot of times and went to the doctors and got samples because it’s either that or I can’t breathe.”

McConnell works part-time at the Eleanor M. Kahle Senior Center and is on social security. Still, she struggles to afford her prescriptions.

“I do get frustrated, very, very frustrated,” she said. ”I just want to shake someone and say, ‘Would you do this to your own mother?’”

Some researchers on the project share McConnell’s frustrations.

“Something has to be done with the system,” Dr. Varun Vaidya, a Professor of Pharmacy Practice at UToledo and one of the study’s authors said. “Although the prescription drug insurance is supposed to help patients to bring down their prices, oftentimes we see that ... the generic drugs are so inexpensive that the cash price sometimes is much lower than the out-of-pocket cost that you’re paying with insurance.”

Vaidya stresses the findings don’t mean you should get rid of your insurance, it’s crucial to have it for larger medical expenses. Rather, you may be able to save on generic prescription medications if you don’t use your insurance.

”Always talk to your pharmacist. They know. You ask them, ‘These are the medications I’m on. Is there any can you look through the cash prices? Maybe we can bypass the insurance?’”

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.