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Planet Money

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The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at <em>Planet Money</em>. People seem to like it.

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#91 Planet Money: Clipping Coupons For Health Care

September 11th, 2009

Episode 184 of 910 episodes

Co-payments for prescription drugs are one of the ways health insurance companies try to contain costs. Co-pays for generic drugs are often cheaper than for brand name option, so consumers opt for the drug that's cheaper for the insurance agency. But some drug companies have come up with a way to undermine the system. They're handing out "co-pay assistance cards," which are basically like coupons for prescription drugs. They offer you a discount on 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 the Wall Street Journal's John Rockoff, says the coupons come with some hidden costs.

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