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Copay Card Programs


Copay card programs are made available to consumers by drug companies in an effort to steer them towards purchasing their particular drugs.

They reduce or completely cover the cost of the consumer’s out-of-pocket cost. Other ways to refer to copay card programs include copay offset cards, savings cards and manufacturer’s coupons.

Copay card programs differ from discount card programs in that they are funded by drugmakers, usually used in combination with insurance.

Discount card programs are funded by third parties and cannot be combined with insurance.

What is the Problem With FREE Money?

Although copay card programs make it seem like they are saving consumers money, they often work against the consumer’s health plan by promoting more expensive drugs.

  • Health insurance premiums may rise due to discounts that encourage more expensive drugs.
  • Once a drug company hooks the consumer with the initial low cost, prices often return to normal after the program ends.

A Better Way to Save

Try these tips before using copay card programs:

  • Have your doctor prescribe a generic or preferred drug from your plan’s formulary, as these will be less expensive.
  • Choose an over-the-counter medication if applicable.
  • Opt to have mail delivery instead of pharmacy pick-up.

If All Else Fails

Copay card programs should be a last resort after other lower-cost treatments have been considered. If you feel it is necessary to use a copay card program, here are some important guidelines to follow:

  • Make sure the card is from a trusted source such as a doctor’s office or a manufacturer’s website.
  • Look out for limitations — most copay card programs will not allow people enrolled in state or federal programs, such as Medicare, to participate.


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