Health care costs are on the rise. Making matters worse, about 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes, driving the need for prescriptions and treatments that add up over time.
Following are some tips from Weston Scott, M.D., medical officer for Senior Products for Humana in Texas, to help you lower your health care costs.
Ask for a generic version of your medication, which are typically 30-80% less expensive than brand name drugs, are equivalent in dosage, form, safety and strength. Many generic alternatives are available, and more commonly used, top-selling medications will be available in generic form in September 2012.
Find out if your prescription drug plan offers a mail-order pharmacy service, providing 30, 60 and 90-day supplies of your medications shipped directly to your home, usually at a discount. It may take a few days to get your medications in the mail, so just reorder before your supply runs out.
Prevent Chronic Conditions
Get regular checkups and screenings from your physician to monitor for and help prevent chronic conditions before they become serious and require treatment. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Medicare and new private-insurance policies are required to completely or significantly cover the cost of 45 medical services such as diabetes, cardiovascular and cancer screenings.
Seek Out Discounts
Health care plans often provide a number of health and wellness discounts – from deals on nutritional supplements to vision care. For instance, Humana offers its online Savings Center for members to get deals on everything from cold remedies to heartburn medications, as well as help finding discounts on other products and services, such as weight loss programs, laser vision correction and massage therapy.
The key to saving on health care costs is planning. It might take a bit of scheduling to order your medications ahead of time or make an appointment for a screening; however, the impact on both your health and wallet, is worth it.