In a move that is spurring big competition among pharmacies, Wal-Mart is quickly expanding its low-cost prescription program, which began in Florida in October, to an additional 27 states. The retailing giant will offer $4 prescriptions for 30-day supplies of about 300 common generic drugs, whether the customer carries insurance or not.
Wal-Mart's chief competitor, Target, and several other regional pharmacy chains say they'll match the offer.
Outlook: These price wars may eventually translate into lower health insurance costs. Prescription prices are a driving force behind recent double-digit health insurance increases. Talk to your organization's insurance broker or health insurance rep to determine whether the low-cost generic programs will mean lower premium costs next year.
Meanwhile, educate employees about the availability of low-cost generic drugs. Depending on your company's co-pay requirements, employees may save big by buying from retailers offering $4 or $5 prescriptions, rather than purchasing through your plan's mail-order option or via other pharmacies.