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Clipping Coupons For Health Care

by Caitlin Kenney
Sep 11, 2009

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Caitlin Kenney

On today's Planet Money:

Co-pays for prescription drugs are one of the ways health insurance companies try to contain costs. They make the generic cheaper than the brand name for you, the consumer, so you'll chose the drug they have to pay less for.

It's been a pretty effective system for years, but now the drug companies have come up with a way to get around it. They're handing out "co-pay assistance cards," which are basically like coupons for prescription drugs. They offer you up to $50 off the co-pay of a particular brand name drug, making the brand name effectively cheaper than the generic.

It may sound like a great deal for consumers, but John Rockoff, who reported the story for the Wall Street Journal, says the coupons come with some hidden costs.

Bonus: After the jump, an listener spots rising home prices in Phoenix.

Download the podcast; or subscribe. Intro music: Interpol's "Obstacle 1." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Flickr.

Back in July, listener Matthew Gindlesperger sent us this photo of a housing development in Phoenix, Ariz. Construction crews working for a new developer had returned to the site after the original developer lost the property in foreclosure.

Today he sends this image, with an updated price.

He writes:

Who says there is no inflation? I guess it depends what you are buying.

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