There is no denying the fact that the United States healthcare system could use a serious overhaul. Access to even the most basic services is still a de facto privilege, rather than a right. Some 27.5 million Americans are uninsured, making them unable to afford a visit to the doctor’s office — let alone treatments or medications.
Even those Americans who are lucky enough to have health insurance often struggle to afford the drugs that are prescribed to them. There are several avenues for saving on costs at the pharmacy. One option that is increasing in popularity due to its combined appeal of low prices and convenience: buying prescription medications online.
How does online ordering work? Why is it almost always less expensive than going to the pharmacy? And are there any drawbacks? Let’s take a closer look.
The Basics of Online Pharmacies
We’re talking about ordering medications on the up-and-up — not about buying Viagra from sketchy international outlets that bombard your inbox with spam. That means you have to have seen a doctor and received a prescription. You will be asked to supply that prescription to the online pharmacy, and they may even contact your healthcare provider to ensure that the prescription is valid.
After that, you simply pay for the medicine and check out through the website, just as you would when buying clothing or any other item online. The pharmacy fills your scrip and sends it directly to your doorstep.
How Insurance Factors In
Whether or not a particular online pharmacy accepts your insurance plan depends on its policy. Some mail-order drugstores do accept insurance, and will even work directly with the insurance company to make sure all the Is are dotted and Ts crossed. There are also many that cannot take insurance.
That said, did you know that paying out of pocket for many different medications can actually be cheaper than the insurance co-pay? Most folks assume that using their insurance to pay for a prescription is the least expensive option; it might never occur to them that there’s a better way. Therefore, getting your prescriptions online might not cost any more than buying them outright, sans insurance, at a local pharmacy.
Even More Cost Savings
Online pharmacies don’t have the same overhead costs that the pharmacy counter at a supermarket or big-box store incurs. They don’t have to train staff in customer-facing positions, and their operating hours don’t have to coincide with those of a retail outlet.
Moreover, because there are so many customers who are located across the country or countries they serve, they are able to buy medications in bulk. That represents significant cost savings, which online pharmacies then pass on to consumers.
Choosing the Right Company
Here are a few tips for buying mail-order meds:
- Check to see if they take your insurance
- Be sure to comparison shop to get the lowest prices
- Choose an established company that is licensed and certified
- Read reviews online
- Read the pharmacy’s FAQ section
It’s also necessary to plan in advance. If you need a medication immediately or in the very near future, you might be better off going with a local pharmacy to ensure you get it in time.
Buying Prescription Medications Online Is Great
Especially these days, when it’s wise to stay at home whenever possible, having medication delivered is a very convenient option. Add in the fact that it will save you some cash, and there’s really no reason not to buy prescription medications online!
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