This App Keeps Prescriptions From Breaking the Bank

Maybe you're between jobs, but you can't go without your antidepressant until you find a new one. Maybe you've got insurance, but it's a high-deductible plan that leaves you in the lurch. Maybe your pet needs medicine, but you've always paid for their care out of pocket, and this time, it's just so much. No matter what, trying to decide whether to fill a prescription because you're not sure you can afford it can be both scary and heartbreaking.

Thankfully, there's a way around that tough call, and it can be the difference between getting treatment or just getting by. Meet GoodRx, a website and app that offers free coupons which find the lowest prices at pharmacies near you. Because the industry is so unregulated, different pharmacies can offer wildly different prices for the same drug. But getting the best deal for you has gotten a lot easier with this service.

You don't have to sign up for anything or give up any private data. Just search for the prescription you need (they've got an extensive database) and type in your zip code; GoodRx pulls up information on what the drug is for, how much it usually costs out of pocket, and what you can pay in person or online. Just print out the coupon you want or show the pharmacist your phone, and that's it — anxiety-depleting savings achieved.

The company says it can lower the bill on certain fills by up to 80 percent. Search results also show you how much the drug's price has changed over the past several months. If you want to use the service and you already have insurance, ask the pharmacist to process the GoodRx coupon instead of your insurance plan. (Just be aware that choosing this option means this script payment won't go toward your deductible, after which the insurance company takes over your costs.) And yes, GoodRx is good for veterinary scripts too.

You can download the app for free in either the Android or the iTunes store. You can even get coupons just by texting. The website's FAQ is both thorough and easy to understand. And rest easy about why GoodRx is available for free: Rather than selling your personal information, they rely on online ads and referral fees.

No one should feel they have to skip medical treatment because they can't afford it. Hopefully with this program, they shouldn't have to.