Health plan prescription drug co-pays at pharmacies, and even some mail order drug programs for maintenance drugs, can be expensive. Generally the lowest co-pay is $10 for a monthly supply. Obviously prescriptions are even more expensive if you are uninsured.

I learned from my physician that certain generic prescription drugs can be cheaper to purchase at cash price (without insurance) from Costco Pharmacy. These drugs include common blood pressure medications such as Lisinopril. I’ve found that several generic maintenance medications were less expensive to purchase in a 30 day supply for cash at Costco than 1/3 of the 90 day supply required by our mail order prescription drug program. In addition, Costco accepts 90 day prescriptions from my physician for cash purchase which saves even more!

Costco uses the same electronic prescription orders as other large pharmacies, if your doctor uses that system, and accepts most major health plans. There is a price look up on the website, but you first need to know the specific name of the generic drug you need to purchase which may not be on your prescription form. You can ask your doctor for the generic drug name, otherwise call the Costco Pharmacy to inquire.

If you want to use Costco for all your pharmacy needs, have your physician send all prescriptions there and they will charge you the health plan co-pay or cash price, whichever is less. Just keep in mind that some health plans require mail order for maintenance drugs, so make sure the cash price is less before filling those at Costco or you may be paying more because insurance will deny coverage.

Tip: If you are a Costco member, consider using Costco Pharmacy cash pricing to see if you can save $ on generic prescription drugs.

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