More ways to lower your health care costs.
I'm starting to get to that age where the need for medication is beginning to creep up on me. And I'm starting to notice just how much prescriptions and medications can quickly add up and infringe on our carefully structured budget.
When you're young, your budget for health-related items tends to be quite low; your expenses usually relate to diet, exercise and the occasional visit to the physician. But over time, medical matters start adding up.
A few years ago, I was combating a mystery condition that cost me upwards of $275 a month from prescriptions and doctor's visits. To this day, I have never found a diagnosis, but luckily, a lifestyle change seems to have vanquished my physical symptoms (could it have been stress?). Back then, I definitely could have used a few tips to manage my costs. For those who continue to live with the need for ongoing medication, here are some suggestions to control your budget. Here's my countdown to cheaper medicine!
10. Ask your doctor for options. Generic medications are considered by the medical community to be as effective as brand name alternatives.
9. Order prescriptions by mail. Mail order prescriptions can be relatively cheaper than those picked up in your pharmacy.
8. Keep fit with diet and exercise. Remember that an ounce of prevention is always the better deal. Check out these affordable ways to stay healthy and these cheap ways to exercise!
7. Buy generic or over the counter if it's possible.
6. Buy in bulk if you've got an ongoing need for a specific medication. It may cost less at some places like at shopping clubs.
5. Should you cheat? Some people suggest splitting pills or taking medication less frequently. But this would entail altering the suggested dosage. Check with your physician before attempting this strategy: make doubly sure that you aren't tampering with your medication's potency or that you aren't making it less effective.
4. Buy the same medication abroad. Some countries have the same drug products at less cost.
3. Use your health savings account at work in an optimal fashion. Check with your HR department about how to best use the health benefits you have.
2. Comparison shop and keep your eye out for discounts.
1. Use Medtipster! I just stumbled onto this cool new tool which I'm introducing below.
Medtipster has a really great premise, and so far, I found the features very helpful. The success of the site will hinge upon the quality and quantity of data it's got in its database. If you need to do some basic research on a particular drug or prescription, then this is a good place to start. Here's what Medtipster will try to give you:
Here are a few snapshots I took when I searched for the drug “Synthroid” (a thyroid medication) in my local area:
Other interesting features and notes about Medtipster:
Medtipster certainly looks like a promising resource for those of us having to deal with prescriptions. Hope you can share with us how well (or not) this tool works out for you!