Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sticker shock at the pharmacy

Why are prescription eye drops so expensive?

Twice this month, I've had to buy prescription eye drops -- steroidal drops for me, antibiotics for Jackson. Both times, I was floored by the cost of a tiny little bottle of eye drops.

Mine set me back $44 and Jackson's was $50.

Our health insurance, which good, doesn't include a vision plan per se, so I'm used to paying out of pocket for my eye doctor appointments, glasses and contact lenses. But I really would have thought that eye drops -- a medical intervention -- would be covered under regular health insurance and that they would be on the formulary for United Healthcare (our insurance provider.)

But they're obviously not because our typical prescription copay runs only about $4 to $20.

Both Jackson and I needed our drops, and I'd never not fill a prescription to save money. But this was definitely one of those times when I was surprised by the cost of something.

Have you had an experience like this lately? Arrived at the checkout counter to be surprised by your total?

We all know that grocery and gas prices are rising. What else is costing more these days?


  1. christine in iowaJuly 10, 2008 at 6:35 PM

    Yes! I was surprised to pay $50 for a prescription for my daughter's pink eye this week. The dr. asked if we have insurance because she prefers this medicine rather than the generic one. So I knew it would be more expensive but not THAT much! :)

  2. I ran into the same thing! I got eyedrops for my son that cost $62 -- and the clerk said that our insurance had actually covered part of it! I guess that the drug wasn't on their list, so they only covered a small piece. We, too, are used to low copays like yours. Hope things clear up quickly and don't return!

  3. Don't forget to ALWAYS use a coupon when filling prescriptions. At least you get something back.

    I always have a stack on hand...paying from $20 to $30 per filled prescription.

    If you don't have in pocket, eBay is always a great place to buy some. And, most places will match competitors.

    Just make sure the coupon is for New or Transferred. If it says just transferred, then you won't make money if you get a new prescription filled.

    I will have made over $200 soon just on filling prescriptions ( this is after my copay has been taken out of the calculation ).

  4. Great idea, Carrie. I always see those coupons and feel both bummed (and thankful) that we don't have any recurring prescriptions to fill. And I never seem to have one of the coupons on me when we do get sick and have to go to the pharmacy. But I'm going to try to do better because Rite Aid has been offering some great $30 gift certificates lately. I just need to find a drive-through Rite Aid nearby.

  5. If you don't have insurance a prescription discount card can help. Since we are naming names here, I can tell you I got mine from