|But Health is Wealth so we need to be able to prioritize the important things. Here are some tips for how to save money on medical bills and medication:
- Switch to generic. Not all generics are created equal, but there are some really good ones out there Like the APO and Sandoz brand. You can literally save hundreds of dollars on an antibiotic prescription by switching. Also brand names like Panadol and Tylenol are just bog standard Paracetamol AKA Acetaminophen: You can save 50% or more by not buying brand names. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if switching to generic is an option for you. Important note: certain medications classes DO need to be always the same brand – like for example anti- epileptics . Once you have found a brand (either generic or branded) then stick to it.
2.Can you switch to a CDAP version of your drug? The chronic disease assistance program is for ALL nationals. Ask your doctor if this is an option for you….and they are free! Aspirin, Metformin, just to name a few
3.Consider going direct to the supplier like Smith Robertson or Oscar Francois to save money. You will need an order from your doctor so talk to her.
4. Consider buying scored tablets and cutting them in half. If you are on a drug like Euthyrox for example, this comes in a variety of doses. If you are on 50mcg, it may be cheaper to buy 100mcg tablets cut along the scored line….YOU CANNOT do this with all drugs but if they are scored you probably can. Long release tablets are not suitable for this because they have a coating which controls how quickly the drug is released. But it’s worth asking your doctor or pharmacist if this is an option for your drugs. Don’t take the decision on your own as you need to make sure this is safe for your medication.
5. Attend your regular medication reviews: This may seem like an upfront cost, but it can save you hundreds in the long run as you can take the opportunity to talk to your doctor about the possibility of switching to cheaper generics. You can also look at combination tablets, For example, Galvus Met is a combination of Galvus and Metformin and is cheaper in combination than when bought separately. If you are on three or more Blood pressure tablets also review with your doctor to see if a combination tablet might be cheaper, and lets face it, easier to remember to take. Also, if you find that the drugs are not working for you as expected, then it’s better to know and do something about it sooner rather than end up with an expensive emergency hospital bill if you become ill.
6. Consider a dose box or medication reminder app and take medications as prescribed. There is no point forgetting to take medicines you have paid for as not taking your medications regularly can cause you to become ill and again, end up with a trip to the ER or a Hospital admission.
7.Go for your chronic disease appointments regularly – asthma, diabetes etc, Uncontrolled illness may again land you with an even bigger ER or hospital bill than your GP appointment!
8. Prevention is Better than Cure: Check your Insurance policy to see if you have an annual medical benefit. Using this to have your health check will detect problems earlier and make them cheaper in the long run
9. You do NOT always need a pap smear or mammogram every year. If you are healthy with no previous abnormal smears it is fine to have pap smears every 3 years instead of annually. A mammogram is fine every 2 years unless your history or family history means you should have them more frequently. Talk to your doctor about this
10. Colonoscopies are the gold standard for detecting asymptomatic bowel cancer or polyps before they become malignant. Check your insurance policy to see if you have preventative coverage for this. If you don’t, and you don’t have the $4K it costs to have a screening colonoscopy, then talk to your doctor about having a special stool test called the FIT test instead. This detects microscopic blood int he stool that you and I cannot see with the naked eye.
11. Ask your insurance provider about switching to copay options. Lots of local insurers now offer these options. This means that if you may only have to pay a percentage of the cost of your doctor’s visit or medication bill up front, and they pay the rest direct to the provider….so you don’t have to pay the whole bill up front then wait for re-imbersment. This can be a life saver when cash flow is a problem.
12. Are you taking your asthma inhalers correctly? – spacer devices mean more of the drug gets into your lungs rather than hitting the back of the throat. This means less wastage, better control and studies have shown that spacer devices can be as good as nebulisers!
13. Are you storing your medications correctly? – For example,Insulin needs to be stored in the fridge. If not it may not work as well.
14. Get vaccinated! Again preventing hospital admission..
I hope you found this helpful. Call us for a virtual medication review if you don’t want to come in!