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Discount Card Programs


Discount card programs — the name speaks for itself.

Organizations will distribute them for free with the promise of saving money on prescription drugs. Sound too good to be true?

It just might be.

Discount card programs differ from copay card programs in that they are funded by third parties and cannot be combined with insurance.

Copay card programs are funded by drugmakers, usually used in combination with insurance.

Are Discount Cards Hurting YOUR Benefits Package?

Although a savings option for the uninsured, pharmacy discount cards do not measure up to a real pharmaceutical benefits plan.

  • Paying for prescriptions with a discount card may actually cost you more at the end of the year as these costs will not get counted toward your deductible and out-of-pocket limit.
  • Some discount cards waive users’ privacy rights, with statements such as “We may share your information with other companies.”
  • Using a discount card may increase the risk of drug-to-drug interactions being missed, especially when using multiple pharmacies and/or multiple discount cards.

When Discount Cards are Useful

If a person has prescriptions that are not covered by their insurance or is one of the 28 million Americans¹ who are uninsured, then discount cards may prove helpful. Otherwise, covered individuals will benefit the most from sticking with their current health plan’s pharmacy benefit card.

Tips & Tricks

If a person falls into a category that justifies using a discount card, here are some valuable tips:

  • Compare drug prices at more than one store.
  • Never pay fees for a discount card — there are plenty of no-cost options available.
  • Always read the fine print.


  1. Young, Jeffrey. “Uninsured Rate at All-Time Low.” Huffington Post (2016): n. pag. Web. 19 Apr. 2017


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