An Easy Way to Save on Healthcare

by Galia Gichon on September 3, 2009

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This article was originally posted on the ING Direct site, We the Savers.

Even if you consider yourself a savvy consumer or smart shopper, you might be able to find some hidden money in your health care spending. If you have a regular prescription medicine, it pays to do a little research and examine this area with a fine tooth comb. You could find an additional $300-600 a year. You might be thinking this is just for the little old lady who is counting her pennies and eating frozen dinners. Not so much anymore. Prescription drugs are taking a huge bite of our budget: $287 billion bite. That is what we spent in 2007 on prescription drugs. In addition, 28% of Americans are cutting back in this area which can be potentially harmful, according to a study by Consumer Reports. Take a few easy steps beforehand.

Start with examining your current health insurance plan. Many plans offer three price levels: generic, preferred and non-preferred. Which level do you have or are you currently using? 77% of health insurance plans offer these varied levels. Your next step is once your doctor prescribes a medicine, start by checking with your pharmacy and what they offer. You should also do this with your current prescriptions. You might have to switch pharmacies; check out Costco, Target or Walmart. Also see if your plan offers a mail-order program – these offer huge savings! This is different from scouring the web for mail-order prescriptions, don’t do that.

Another key action step is to talk to your doctor. Be honest and say that you may not be able to afford the drug he or she is prescribing or you just need to watch your expenses. There may be alternatives or generic drugs that have not yet been considered. Do not ask about the drugs you see on TV or ones handed out in samples in their office. Think about it, advertising, free samples, hmmm…. These are usually the most expensive. The benefit of doing this research is that it is a one-time action step. An hour’s worth of work can pay off huge dividends every month.

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