The high cost of prescription drugs is a major reason for
rising health care costs. Americans are using more prescription
drugs to prevent and manage health conditions than ever before,
and drug costs continue to increase.
With generic equivalents available for many popular brand-name
drugs at a much lower cost, requesting a generic drug is an
easy way to manage your prescription drug costs. That’s why
we encourage HMSA members, physicians and pharmacists to consider
generic drugs when appropriate.
There’s only one major difference between generic drugs and
brand-name drugs – the cost. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) requires that generic drugs be identical to brand-name
versions in dosage, safety, strength, how it is taken, quality,
performance, and intended use. Generics may look or taste different
than brand-name drugs, but these things don’t affect the way the
Generic drugs can dramatically lower your out-of-pocket payments.
For example, HMSA members generally have a $5 copayment for generic
drugs, compared to $20 or more for brand-name drugs, depending on
your plan. For members taking a medication daily for a chronic
condition, the out-of-pocket cost for a generic drug would be $60
per year, compared to $240 or more for a brand-name drug. And
members taking multiple medications for chronic condition(s) will
save even more simply by using generic drugs.
Not all drugs are available as generics and your doctor may feel
that a brand-name drug is the most appropriate for you. Ask your
doctor or pharmacist about saving money with generic drugs.