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Comparison Shopping

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Should You Comparison Shop Prescription Prices? Not if You’re A RegenceRx Member

Prescription prices can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy–sometimes dramatically. At RegenceRx, we do the comparison shopping for you.

Here is a good example. We calculated the RegenceRx price and requested price quotes on two generic medications from four different chain or discount pharmacies in the Seattle area on March 9, 2005, with these results:

Price Quote
levothyroxine 0.15mg,
quantity 30
ranitidine 150mg,
quantity 60
Pharmacy A
Pharmacy B
Pharmacy C
Pharmacy D
Contracted Rate

In all cases the caller was given a “cash price.” As a RegenceRx member, the caller was told they would likely pay less, but the pharmacies were unwilling to say how much less without seeing the member’s actual prescription and member card.

Pharmacy A told the caller that as a RegenceRx member the price would be the same at any drug store. Pharmacy C stated the member would only have to pay a copay, although the exact copay amount depended on the specific prescription plan.

The fact is, at RegenceRx, we do the comparison shopping for you. RegenceRx contracts with more than 55,000 pharmacies nationwide, reducing overall prescription costs for our members by approximately 40%.* When we contract with a pharmacy, our agreement means that when you present your member card, the pharmacy will charge either the RegenceRx contracted rate or their cash price– whichever is less.

Based on our contracts, if you showed your member card and had your prescriptions filled at Pharmacy A, C or D, the total cost would have been $10.05 and $10.95 respectively. You would have paid your copay/coinsurance amount or those prices, whichever was the lower amount.

If you went to Pharmacy B, you’d have paid $9.99 or your copay/coinsurance amount, whichever was less. In this example, the most you’d pay is $10.05/$10.95.

Please note: The medications levothyroxine and ranitidine are both generic and therefore available from various manufacturers at a variety of prices. With brand-name medications, a range of prices still exists, though less dramatic.

Understanding and being aware of the actual cost of our prescriptions is something we can all do to help reduce the spiraling cost of health care.

*40% represents the difference between the retail prescription price the pharmacy would charge a cash customer and the RegenceRx contracted rate. Specific products vary in discount percentage.