Paying cash for meds cheaper than insurance co-pay?


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Open enrollment is starting soon, November 1 to be exact. While I still can’t see what my insurance premiums options are until then, I am able to see what the drug insurance copays would be depending on the level of insurance plan we could get. (Note: We have no intention of changing to insurance, but I like to keep track of how much better Samaritan’s pricing is!) We only have one option for insurance on the individual market. When the choose the bronze plan on the insurance company website, it shows me what my copays for medicines would be. I have put several medicines that we’ve been prescribed in the last few years into their search fields to see what the pricing is today. I did the same thing with goodrx, my go-to for cash drug discounts, and made the comparisons.

So far, every single one of them is cheaper using the coupon through goodrx. EVERY ONE. While that will not always be the case, it is again eye opening how insurance isn’t really saving us anything. For one of the medications with the widest pricing swing, I called the closest goodrx pharmacy with the cheapest price to get their cash (no goodrx discount) prices, and make sure they accept goodrx coupons. Here’s what I learned.

Straight cash: $478.99 (90 day supply)
Goodrx coupon: $38.18 (90 day supply)
Insurance copay: $60 (90 day supply)

For a generic it’s incredible that the cash price is almost $500, wow. Goodrx will save us 36% over the insurance copay and 92% over straight cash! It really pays to do the research. The pricing variation for this one medication in the same town, across 6 different pharmacies with a few miles of each other ranged from $38.18 to $171.15 even using the goodrx coupon.

While paying cash and using coupons for medications is a great thing, there can be some pitfalls. For one, it usually means we get our prescriptions filled at a number of different pharmacies in the area. It’s worth it to me to drive across town to save $130 on the exact same medication. It adds a little more time, but the savings are definitely worth it. Prices should be checked periodically because they can change (usually annually, sometimes more often), and it may require you to transfer your prescription mid year to capture the savings. (Transferring is usually very easy and automated over the phone or online). Also, sometimes the cash/coupon price isn’t cheaper than an insurance co-pay. It pays to make a list of your medicines and run these comparisons. For many people they come out ahead each year, even if some meds are higher, simply because others are so much cheaper. And the difference between our Samaritan monthly share and the insurance premium also plays in. I can afford to pay a little more for any higher priced meds because I’m saving so much each month on premiums.

Once again, being a member of Samaritan Ministries instead of having traditional health insurance is saving us money and giving us freedom of choice. Even when it comes to medications.


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What Others Think


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“We’ve enjoyed the privilege of sending notes of encouragement and our share to help others in time of need. When our unexpected time came, an amazing peace came over me as I lay in the hospital. I would have been so worried about the high deductible and what’s covered if we still had insurance. There was no worry with Samaritan, just peace and even an excitement to see it work. As over $90,000 in bills came, I began making calls and was blown away at how easy it was to get discounts. In the end we got 80 percent off our total bills! Before each call, I asked God for guidance and the words to say. What a blessing it was when the notes and shares came my way. I couldn’t wait to check the mail each day. Thank you for this ministry! What a blessing it is to be part of it.” — Perry & Dorinda, Texas

“I am very thankful to the Father for making me a part of the Body of Christ. I went through a massive heart attack, emergency surgery, by-pass surgery, and hospital rehab, then six weeks at home with 24-hour care, but because of my brothers and sisters I was never anxious for how we would pay for all of it. I was not entangled in any mind-boggling paperwork. I didn’t have to communicate with any difficult people. I was told by the hospital that because of the “non-interference from an insurance company” I was receiving the best of care. My nurse said insurance requirements are often very restricting. My 10 days of in-hospital rehab were completely written off as a charity. They said it was because of no complication of insurance that they were able to do this. The Body of Christ is beautiful! My Father’s care for me is limitless. I hope that the Father will enable me to share this wonderful feeling of meeting needs with others. I am surely blessed as a child of the Living God!” — Clarence & Heather, Georgia

“We are thankful for Samaritan and all the members who prayed with us during Harry’s adventure back to health. We’ve never been excited about paying medical bills, but we were overwhelmed at the opportunities to save money by paying cash. This brought us a sense of stewardship and comradery. Now more than ever, we look forward to sending our share and understand the power of a simple note of kindness and prayer.” Harry & Sherry, Oregon

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Why Members Love Samaritan Ministries


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“I have been so blessed by the personal cards and notes of encouragement by the members helping me in my time of need. I think the best part of Samaritan is the way members address both financial and spiritual needs in a personal way. The prayers from the Samaritan staff and the members create an atmosphere of care and love that not only helped me, but also my entire family.” – Brandon in Iowa

“We are just so thankful for Samaritan Ministries! We are now able to choose our doctors! That was never possible in the past when we had insurance network restrictions. We pray that Samaritan will grow and grow nationwide.” – Jim and Kris in California

“Joyce and I are very thankful for Samaritan. Because of the faithfulness of both ministry team and members in the past, we had complete confidence that our need would be met. We saw God’s provision and timing in an amazing way. We talked with the hospital and our $32,000 bill was reduced to a reasonable $4500. An 85% discount. Yay God!” – Rick in Colorado

“We have loved being a part of SMI for the past few years. Sending out our monthly checks to other brothers and sisters in need – instead of an insurance company – has been such a rewarding experience in and of itself! Then, we had our first need arise with the maternity cost of our third child. I wondered how the need process would compare with our past expenses for childbirth. However, there has been no comparison! We have been extremely blessed by the ease of working with the SMI staff, as well as by each note and check received from our fellow members! Our family is so thankful for this health care sharing ministry.” – Bryan and Amy in California

Click here to download a free information packet about Samaritan Ministries