One of the hottest stories to burn up the wires recently was the announcement of a new initiative involving Amazon, Warren Buffet, and JP Morgan Chase to launch some kind of health care initiative. Everyone is wondering what it means. Advocates for affordable healthcare see it as a sign that even businesses are looking for ways to save money on prescription drugs and other healthcare costs.
Even though lacking in details, the initiative sent ripples through the healthcare industry causing stocks to tumble across the pharmacy and health insurance market. Express Scripts, Walgreens, CVS, Anthem, Aetna, and UnitedHealth all experienced major drops in share value.
The initiative seems to be focused on their own employees, and not a national solution to save money on prescription drugs and other skyrocketing healthcare costs. According to the joint statement, the initiative seeks to “bring technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.” Warren Buffet, CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway added, “The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.”
The Skyrocketing Cost of Pharmaceuticals
The escalating costs of pharmaceuticals have absorbed politicians, consumer groups, and healthcare advocates. The causes are many, but the primary issue for us is how to save money on our healthcare costs. According to an article in The Hill, the cost of cancer medication has become so astronomical that many patients are delaying or skipping lifesaving treatment. We see the same story playing out with other critical medications
A recent debt.com survey revealed that our primary concerns are saving money and paying off credit card debt. While the politicians and pharmaceutical execs debate and blame, we need to find ways to save money on prescription drugs, one of the most money draining components of our healthcare costs.
Medical Debt and Difficult Choices
Medical emergencies, out-of-pocket costs, and uncovered medical expenses are throwing thousands of Americans into debt. In fact, medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy. How does this happen? You face a medical bill that you can’t pay and it goes to collection. Or, you use your credit cards to purchase your pharmaceuticals or pay for medical procedures. Sadly, far too many consumers make the more troubling choice of skipping necessary procedures or not taking their meds. This is one of the reasons that peer-to-peer lenders like Peerform offer medical loans.
But, what can we do in the meantime to save money on prescription drugs?
Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk With Your Physician
The first step is communication. Don’t be afraid to discuss your financial situation with your healthcare provider. Explain your budget limitations. Ask for the lowest-cost prescription drug that will still be effective in treating your condition. Ask for free samples.
2. Go Generic
One of the best ways to save money on prescription drugs is to use generic whenever possible. But, you have to do your research and be assertive.
Most pharmaceuticals have a generic equivalent, however, your healthcare practitioner may not initially provide a prescription for it. Tell your physician that you want a prescription for the generic version if possible. The generic equivalent can save you as much as 30 to 80 percent. Do your research and check out the drug formulary for the drug you need. Investigate the drug’s cost, your co-pay requirements for generic vs. non-generic and determine what you can afford.
3. Shop Around
We are always looking for the best bargain, right? We check out different stores or go online to find the best price before making a purchase. The same goes for your pharmaceuticals. The price for your prescription is not the same across all drug retailers. The price depends upon the location of the pharmacy, customer base, popularity of the particular drug, and other factors. Find out if the price is different if you purchase the drug outright, rather than using your copay. Be sure to check out supermarket pharmacies, online outlets and mail order companies. You may also find good discounts for bulk order, for instance ordering a 90-day supply of your medication.
4. Patient Assistance Programs
Patient assistance programs can help you save money on prescription drugs. Most of the pharmaceutical companies have a patient assistance program that provides low-cost or even free medications if you qualify. Start the process by visiting the websites of PPARx, RxAssist, or NeedyMeds. These platforms will tell you about special programs, patient assistance programs and other ways to save money on prescriptions.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Some health conditions may come to you due to genetics or other uncontrollable causes. But there is a lot we can do to minimize our need for pharmaceuticals, beginning with eating a healthy diet, watching our weight, exercising and reducing stress. Take care of your prescription drugs too. Pay attention to storage requirements and expiration dates so you do not find yourself unnecessarily throwing out expensive product.
On this blog, we speak a lot about the correlation between financial stress and health. Medical debt is definitely one stressor that can negatively impact our overall health. Here are some tips on how to deal with medical bills.