Go Generic and Save Money

When shopping at the grocery store, do you automatically reach for the familiar brand name item you recognize from a TV commercial or magazine ad? When it comes to medications, you might be able to save money—without sacrificing safety or effectiveness—by choosing a generic drug.

Generics: What’s the Difference?

If your doctor prescribes a brand-name drug, always ask if there’s a generic equivalent. On average, generics cost 30 to 80% less than brand names. In many cases, generics have lower insurance co-payments, too. Generic drugs sold in the U.S. have to meet the same quality and performance standards as their brand-name counterparts. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all generic medications:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as their brand-name counterparts
  • Have the same intended uses
  • Meet the same strength, identity, quality, and purity standards
  • Be identical in dosage form, strength, and how they’re taken
  • Adhere to the same strict manufacturing standards required for brand-name versions
A Sure Way to Save

While asking your doctor about generic drugs can help you keep more money in your pocket, the best way to reduce your prescription drug costs is to follow a healthier lifestyle. Changing your diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking are all ways to improve your health. When you’re healthier, your doctor might tell you good news: You no longer need expensive medications, or you can lower the dosage. Remember to always check with your doctor before you stop or start taking any medication.



The percentage of the bill you pay after your deductible has been met.


A fixed amount you pay when you get a covered health service.

Tiered benefit plan

A health care plan featuring multiple levels of benefits based on the network status of a particular provider. 


The annual amount you pay for covered health services before your insurance begins to pay.

emergency care services

Any covered services received in a hospital emergency room setting.


Includes behavioral health treatment, counseling, and psychotherapy

in-network provider

A provider contracted by your insurance company to accept an agreed upon payment for covered services. 

OUT-OF-network provider

A term for providers that aren’t contracting with your insurance company. (Your out-of-pocket costs will tend to be more expensive if you go to an out-of-network provider.)


Your expenses for medical care that aren’t reimbursed by insurance, including deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments.


If you can afford health insurance, but choose not to buy it, you must have a health coverage exemption or pay a tax penalty on your federal income tax return.


The amount you pay to your health insurance company each month. 

Preventive services

Health care services that focus on the prevention of disease and health maintenance.


Services and devices to help you recover if you are injured or have surgery. This includes physical, occupational and speech therapy.

special enrollment period

The time after the Open Enrollment Period when you can still purchase health insurance only if you have a qualifying life event (losing other health coverage, having a baby, getting married, moving).


A physician who has a majority of his or her practice in fields other than internal or general medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics or family practice.