Money is tight. And with rising health care costs, it’s difficult to find ways to cut back, especially on necessities. Here are seven tips for saving money on health care:
1. Go Generic
Ask your doctor if your prescriptions are absolutely necessary. Are there any other alternatives to try before prescriptions? If it is necessary, ask if there is a generic version of the drug available and if there are any reasons why the generic version would be inappropriate. Often drugs off patent can cost nearly 90% less.
2. Try Coupons
If you can’t buy generic, search for drug coupons. AARP suggests searching for online coupons for prescriptions, especially for nongeneric drugs. Two Web sites for coupons include www.optimizerx.com and www.internetdrugcoupons.com.
3. Pick your Pharmacies
Not all pharmacies are created equal. Currently, places like Target and Kroger are offering $4 prescriptions on more than 300 generic drugs, including some of the most popular prescriptions. A list of the participating pharmacies and eligible generic drugs is available at www.kroger.com/generic or by calling (877) 4RX-LIST or (877) 479-5478.
4. Prevention Practices
Experts suggest simple steps such as eating a balanced diet and exercise can mean major savings in health care costs. Consider maintaining a healthy weight and visiting the doctor regularly for checkups.
According to health advocate Charles Inlander in his article Negotiating with Healthcare Providers, he explains how easy it can be to negotiate health care costs. “Generally, doctors and other health care providers are willing to lower their standard fees for patients with limited incomes or special economic circumstance,” he says. “This holds true especially for people without health insurance, or for services not covered by health insurance. But it is up to you to start the discussion.”
6. Try it Out
If the doctor recommends a new prescription, ask if there are samples available. Not only will you save money, but it can be an appropriate way to try out the drug to discover any uncomfortable side effects.
7. Check Your Bills
Always review your bills and insurance coverage before and after a visit to the doctor. Look for anything incorrect or suspicious. If you find a mistake, call your health care provider immediately for corrections.