Medicines - Coverage Requirements

Medicines - Coverage Details

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A smart choice

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Generic drugs work the same as brand-name but cost less

When the patent expires on a brand-name drug, other companies can start making and selling the drug as a generic.  Companies that make generic drugs don’t have the high research and marketing costs as the brand-name drug companies, so they can charge a lot less for their version of the medicine. 

This can save you money – depending on the medicine you take, you can save anywhere from 30% - 80%:

Same results, lower cost

Average retail price for brand-name prescription drugs $165.30
Average retail price of generic prescription drugs $19.40
Savings* $145.90

There is a generic drug to treat most medical conditions – including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and asthma. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which generic drugs can work for you. 

A generic pill or capsule may be a different shape or color, but that’s the only difference. All generic drugs must use the same active ingredients as the brand-name drugs. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tests and approves every generic the same way they test brand-name medicines. *your actual savings depend on the drugs you take and your health plan benefit.   

Compare the costs of generic and brand-name medicines

Learn more

Information about generics from the FDA
Information about generics from Consumer Reports magazine

Cost-based tiered generics

You can save money when you choose a generic medicine instead of a brand-name medicine. Some plans have two different tiers for generic medicines, so generic drugs in Tier 1 will cost less than the generics in Tier 2. 


With the same results at a lower cost, generics are a smart choice.