Saving Money on Prescription Drugs (You can, too!)

A few of you know this, but I don’t think I’ve come out and said it on the blog.  Oh no, wait, I have.

I am taking Zoloft.

I was diagnosed with postpartum depression back in…. November? I think it was November. Anyway, Zoloft was prescribed because it is safest for breastfeeding.

At the time, I felt like I couldn’t go another day without help. I was actually trying to get on the phone with a doctor on a Friday afternoon, scared to the point of tears that I would have to go the whole weekend feeling the way that I did. It had gotten gradually worse over the previous month or two, but, when Dan told me that he sometimes became frightened that I may have hurt the kids when I didn’t answer the phone right away, I realized that it was to a point at which I could not just cross my fingers and hope that it would get better.

So I got the prescription, and it was time to fill it. I had no insurance – the Oregon Health Plan stops for postpartum moms between 2 and 3 months postpartum, right about the time when true postpartum depression typically manifests. Not terribly conducive to helping with this particular problem…

My doctor called the prescription in to my pharmacist (Fred Meyer), and I called the pharmacist to find out what I would be paying.

Seventy-five dollars. For 30 days of generic meds. Ouch.

But, like I said, I felt like I couldn’t wait another day. Mom offered to help pay for half, which was very helpful, and I went to the pharmacy. But somewhere, in the back of my mind, I remembered something we had voted on the previous year – a measure forty-something that had passed by a wide margin. Didn’t it allow all Oregonians, regardless of income, to join a prescription drug program that negotiated lower prices for its members? I went home and googled “Oregon Prescription Drug Program.”

Whaddaya know? Sure enough, they didn’t need any income info from me, just my name and other basic info on a short form. It didn’t cost a penny. Within a week or so, my card came in the mail. It was so quick and painless!

A few weeks later, it was time to refill. I took the card to Fred Meyer, very anxious to find out how much I would be paying.
Wait for it…

Wait for it…

$8.30.

I’m serious.

That’s cheaper than many co-pays. And I’ve been paying that ever since, even when my prescription was upped from the 50mg tablets to the 100mg.

The sad thing is that, despite the fact that we all voted on it just a year and a half ago, very few Oregonians seem to know that it exists. I have spoken to many people who struggle with high prescription drug costs, and they are shocked to hear that there is assistance available that has no income guidelines. So I’m writing this post to spread the word.

Washington has a similar program. I don’t know if any other states do. But I’d encourage you to look into it, and to tell anyone you know in Oregon who uses prescription drugs that this is available to them.

This program is for insured people, too! If you consider yourself “under-insured,” you qualify! Here are a few paragraphs about the under-insured, from the state website:

With the passage of SB 362 the underinsured are now able to enroll in the OPDP. If an Oregonian considers themselves underinsured for Rx coverage they may enroll and use their OPDP cards to receive a discount on prescriptions they are purchasing. If a member has Rx insurance they should verify with their carrier that those Rx purchases made using the OPDP discount card will be accumulated toward their out of pocket expense.

Although the OPDP discounts are market competitive, if a member has an insured benefit they may also have a competitive discount that could offer an equal or better rate on their specific prescription. Members should be wise shoppers and see which card brings the best price for their prescriptions.

Go here to join, and here to look up your prescriptions to determine their cost under the program.

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5 Responses

  1. Yay! I’ve missed your posts! This is good info for us, as we hope to be OR residents some time in the near future and despite paying over $4,000 for health insurance last year, don’t get diddly-squat for the “coverage.”

    Good for you, also, for seeking help for your PPD. I definitely had it but didn’t realize it, given our extremely tough and stressful circumstances it was easy to just explain away. Next time, though. Actually, next time (if/when) I am seriously considering eating the placenta. There are services that will freeze dry it and pack it into capsules, so you don’t have to resort to the frying pan or blender method. 🙂

  2. Hey! Awesome post. I wonder if there’s something like that there in South Dakota! I’ll have to check into it!

  3. i did this after reading your post and our cards arrived today. brilliant. you’re always so in the know!

    and laura, i still have my placenta. 😉 i got all kinds of grief for hanging on to it, but like you, i just heard too many amazing stories. it’s currently residing in our freezer in the garage.

  4. Wonder if there’s a thing like that here in Kentucky?? Guess I’ll have to do a little research. It always helps to have assistance like this. I know many people that are struggling with medication prices that for some reason or another don’t qualify for Medicaid or Passport (state funded health coverage..mainly for children and expectant mothers). Thanks for getting the word out. Maybe other people will be able to start the ball rolling in their own state to get something like this.

  5. Hi Jenni,

    Thanks for mentioning the Oregon Prescription Drug Program (OPDP) on your blog! You are right, too few people know about it so it is always great to see testimonials like yours reaching out to people. OPDP has very little money for outreach, we are a small State program.

    Washington’s program WPDP is like OPDP. As a matter of fact we formed an interstate Consortium in 2006, we are partners:) Many other states offer discount programs and I would advise your readers to check their state web sites.

    In the meantime you will be hearing former Governor Barbara Roberts on Radio and TV educating the public on the OPDP over the next year. This was made possible by a grant from the Oregon Department of Justice from a settlement.

    Remember the only requirement to join the OPDP is that you are an Oregon resident. Average discounts are 45% but much higher discounts are available on generic drugs.

    And please, pass it on:)

    Missy Dolan, Administrator
    Oregon Prescription Drug Program

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