Prescription drug costs are big drivers of a medical plan. I’ve seen this firsthand with some of my self-funded clients – the prescription drugs claims have been as high as 33% of total claims!

Not only are drug costs hitting employer’s claim liability; they are also hitting the pocketbooks of insureds. In these days of health savings account plans, prescription drug deductibles, and higher drug co-pays, it pays sometimes to look outside of the plan for cost savings.

This is where some of the retail pharmacies come into play. The pharmacies of HEB, Wal-Mart, and Target have all come up with a list of generic medications that retail for $4-$5 for a 30 day supply. Some of these lists will have between 200 and 500 different generic drugs, listed by category. HEB has even upped the ante with their “platinum plan” that offers a 90 day supply of listed generics for $9.99. Target and Walmart have also created similar plans.

Here is the deal – if you are able to take a generic equivalent, check with Wal-mart, HEB, or Target to see if your drug is on their list of medications covered under their program. Here are the links to each site where you can find the list:




Compare the price with what your medical plan co-pay is – you might save some money!

If you are taking a brand name medication, check with your doctor to see if there is a generic equivalent available that might be covered under the $4 or $5 program. Your physician will also be able to determine if a generic equivalent is right for you – sometimes you may need the more expensive medication.

These $4 and $5 programs work really well for those enrolled in HSA qualified high deductible plans. I’m currently on a health savings account qualified high deductible health plan, so I always check to see if I qualify for one of the $4 or $5 prescriptions. Since I pay negotiated retail price for all prescriptions until my deductible is satisfied, I am always comparison-shopping.

So next time you need a prescription, think outside of the plan!