This should be appar­ent, but appar­ent­ly it isn’t.  Some­times pre­scrip­tion drugs, so often dis­pensed as gener­ics, have a low­er price than the copay­ment stat­ed on the ben­e­fit card.  A new study, how­ev­er, shows that con­sumers aren’t ask­ing, thus not only pay­ing a high­er amount than nec­es­sary, but this amount is then “clawed back” by the Phar­ma­cy Ben­e­fit Man­ag­er (no, the phar­ma­cy does not keep the dif­fer­ence, nor does the insur­ance car­ri­er) which acts as a mid­dle­man between the car­ri­er and the con­sumer.  Dur­ing a study peri­od com­pris­ing the first half of 2013, a USC study found that over­pay­ments totaled $135 mil­lion.  A good exam­ple – hydrocodone aceta­minophen (that would nor­mal­ly be called “Vicodin”) was pre­scribed 120,000 times and there was an aver­age over­charge of $6.94.  It is not just gener­ics, more­over.  The brand name drugs of longer stand­ing also often fall under the brand name co pay­ment (Ambi­en was cit­ed as the most egre­gious exam­ple)  So next time, don’t just reach for the card…