Posted on Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 at 6:39 pm
You may have heard about the recent price increase on the Epi-Pen. It was controversial! In response to backlash, Mylan, the company that makes the Epi-Pen, offered coupons that would help lower the price. But, will the Epi-Pen coupon really save you money?
The Epi-Pen is a pen shaped device that contains epinephrine. It is a life-saving medication for people who have severe allergies. A person who encounters an allergen, and goes into anaphylaxis, needs the dose of epinephrine that is in the Epi-Pen to prevent them from dying. When Mylan raised the cost of the Epi-Pen by over 400% it put this important medicine out of reach for many families.
In response to backlash over the tremendous cost increase, Mylan offered a coupon. The coupon was a discount card that originally covered $100 of insured patient’s copay costs. Mylan boosted their discount card coupon to cover $300 of insured patients’ copay costs.
But, will Mylan’s Epi-Pen coupon save you money? It depends. If you do not have health insurance coverage, you cannot use the Epi-Pen coupon. The website that offers the coupon says “If you do not have insurance, unfortunately you are not eligible to use the My EpiPen Savings Card.”
What if you, or a family member, is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or TRICARE? Sorry, the Epi-Pen coupon won’t help you, either. The website that offers the coupon says: “If you are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or any other state or federally funded benefit program, unfortunately you are not eligible to use the My EpiPen Savings Card.”
In some states, people covered by Medicaid get all of their medications for free. In that situation, a person wouldn’t need the Epi-Pen coupon, because they would not have to figure out how to pay for an incredibly costly Epi-Pen.
What if you have commercial insurance? If you are 18 years of age or older, the Epi-Pen coupon website considers you eligible to receive and use the Epi-Pin discount coupon. But, it isn’t actually going to lower the cost of the Epi-Pen itself. Instead, it will reimburse you for up to $300 of your co-pay. In short, it will save you some money, but it might not bring the cost of the Epi-Pen down enough to fit in your budget.
There is another option. Ask your doctor if he or she can prescribe an alternative epinephrine injector. There could be another on on the market that is less expensive than the Epi-Pen. Eventually, there could be a generic form of the Epi-Pen – and generics always cost less than the name brand.