Group Health Insurance
Health care reform
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
Individual Health Insurance
Long Term Care Insurance
Medicare related coverage
02-27-2009 by Colleen King
Health Insurance–group health insurance or Individual health, it’s the bane of most peoples’ existence. One way you can save money is on how you use your prescription drug benefit.
Most of you will already know that many brand name drugs have generic equivalents. Whenever you can get a generic, with or without insurance, generics are usually significantly less. For example, I was looking on the Costco web site (great source for lower cost prescriptions) at a drug one of my clients is taking, finasteride. A 30 day supply is $33, the brand equivalent is $94. And these days most individual health and group health plans have brand drug deductibles which are a pain. But the design is to nudge you to the generics and help keep their costs down.
Prescription drug costs are one of the main drivers of health care costs escalating. The insurance companies can get discounts but it won’t drive the brand price down to the generic price, so it costs them more too. And guess who ends up paying? There is debate on whether they are as effective; the vast majority of the time they are, so why not give it a try.
Another way to save on drug costs is not to request the ‘latest and greatest’ that you just saw on TV. I recently had a sinus infection, saw an urgent care doctor and wanted the same major league antibiotic I had a couple of years ago that knocked it out in a couple of days. He said he didn’t want to give me that, rather wanted to give me an older antibiotic that I would take for 14 days. Argh! Well, I listened to him (sometimes hard for us RNs) and my prescription was about $7 instead of the $90 I paid before. And I was feeling better in a couple of days anyway.
Last, both individual and group health plans usually have mail order drug service available. Look into it by calling the Member Services number on the back of your ID card. When a health insurance plan offers mail order service, usually you can get a three month supply for the cost of a two month supply. Mail order doesn’t really work for something you need now, like an antibiotic, but if you have maintenance medications you take daily for your heart, blood pressure or asthma, a little planning will save you money and help decrease the cost of health care.
Of course, just staying healthy is the best option of all; Be Well!