According to a research letter presented to the Journal of the American Medical Association patients may be overpaying for common medications by more than 33%. How can this be avoided? By asking a simple question. When you order your prescription drugs, ask the pharmacist for the cash price.

It turns out, at times, the price that the insurance companies ask people to pay in co-pays for medicine is higher than the cash price. By asking for the cash price, consumers can make informed decisions as to whether they want to use their insurance for the purchase. Even better, with proper documentation, consumers can submit these cash price payments to the insurance companies to apply it towards their out-of-pocket expenses.

Some pharmacists report being under “gag orders” prohibiting them from volunteering the cash price. However, the law states that if a consumer asks about it, pharmacists are empowered to talk about it. Certain medical agencies argue just how wide-spread these “gag orders” are. Some states, such as Ohio, have passed laws banning gag orders in insurance contracts.


Nuys, Karen Van, et al. “Frequency and Magnitude of Prescription Drug Co-Payments Exceeding Costs.” JAMA, American Medical Association, 13 Mar. 2018,

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