Drug prices in this country are through the roof. One of the main factors in the rising cost of health care is the American nonchalance about their prescription use. I talk to people all the time taking Lipitor, who haven’t even ever tried the generic version called Simvastin.
Then, once they are forced to get off their group health insurance plan, all of sudden they are looking at the premiums that their employer paid for them and the fact that individual health insurance plans usually only cover name brands after a deductible.
My grandparents saved thousands of dollars a year by switching to generic medications, and most Americans could do this right now but don’t care to as their health insurance is covered by their employer. Part of the health insurance fix is to have personal responsibility become a factor in health care. In much the same way that people shop for their mechanics or cars, they could also apply that same discern for their medical care and the costs of it.
Many health insurance plans have a name brand drug deductible before they will cover any medication from the name brand class. The common number is around $300 per calendar year. This is more than fair, as it transfers some of the high cost to the client even if it is only for a month.
Most US health insurance plans cover generics from the first day of the policy for $10 – $15 per medication. This is very good, but even this can be avoided by taking part in the WalMart 4 dollar generic drug plan.
With prescription drug prices predicted to grow exponentially in the next 10 years, many people are asking how we can possibly design medical coverage that will incorporate the use of such important medicines. But, rather than abandon medications that may save lives, companies and lawmakers alike have devised a plan for affordable individual health insurance and family insurance that specifically covers the generic forms of much-needed drugs.
The average price of brand-name drugs in 2006 was $111 versus $32 for generics. According to the CDC, in the past month at least 45% of Americans used at least one prescription drug, and 2 billion orders for such medicines were ordered and/or provided.
Clearly medicine is big business, and is reflected in the rising cost of prescription drug prices. Drug companies also spend a reported $7 billion on marketing their high-cost, brand-name drugs to doctors. As a result, you have more people taking these drugs for chronic, lifelong diseases, where in the past they were used at very late stages of disease.
And the ramifications are showing up in our medical coverage costs. Some of the most important drugs out there are the most expensive; for example cancer treatment and medications can run up to $7,000 per month. And nobody, not health insurance agencies or patients, can afford to pay that kind of bill.
So what is to be done with it? Prescription drug use is expected to almost double by the year 2010. How can we afford to pay for these potentially lifesaving medications?
The answer has been aggressively pursued by lawmakers and consumers in search of an affordable individual health insurance plan for the average American, and here it is:
Use generic drugs.
Consumers in search of an affordable health insurance policy should search out medical coverage that specifically relies on generic drugs to bring down premiums. In so doing, this forces prescription drug companies to lower their costs to compete, and keeps people healthier in the long run.
How to Save on Prescription Drugs with your Health Insurance Plan
Lets face it, outside of your regular health care you still have plenty of expenses. Depending on what plan you chose prescription drugs can still be a costly addition to your monthly budget, especially if you have an ailment that requires regular medication. Have you ever wondered if there were any other ways you could save money on top of your prescription coverage? Here’s a few helpful hints and tips for you.
- -Drug discount cards can be found. For a nominal fee you can purchase a drug discount card that could save you up to 25% on your typical prescription drug costs.
- -Substituting generic drugs can drastically reduce your prescription drug costs. The quality of generic drugs isn’t necessarily lower, and the effects are generally the same to that of the brand name variety.
- -Select a different drug that has similar effects, but is less costly. Ask your physician. Almost every drug on the market has other similar drugs that could be substituted in its place.
- -Buy in large quantities vs. smaller quantities. Just like going to a wholesale food distributor like BJ’s or Sam’s Club, if you buy a 30 pack of paper towels, you will save instantly over buying 10 rolls. Same goes for prescription drugs, if available.
- -Compare prices between different pharmacies. Just a phone call away.
Save money, put the Dr. in your shoes
In addition to saving money by switching to generic prescriptions, there are also a couple of other ways to save while actually visiting the doctor. The trick here is to ask! The doctor is there to help you, and should be more than willing to accommodate any questions or requests within reason. This is especially pertinent in relation to medical tests and surgeries.
First ask the simple question, why? Why do you want to have this test performed on me? What happens if the test turns out this way? What about the alternative? How much will this test cost me? Would you spend your own money on this same test?
Surgeries are also similar in nature and should warrant many questions in the neighborhood of cost and alternatives. Don’t forget to always get a second, and sometimes a third opinion on a procedure. It would also be wise to obtain an opinion from a doctor who would not be performing the procedure, that way he has no vested interest in benefiting from giving you a diagnoses.
About generic drugs.
The Food and Drug Administration says that consumers should feel confident when taking generic drug products. All generic drugs must be reviewed and approved by the FDA, and a generic version works like the brand-name drug in dosage, strength, performance, and use. Also, generic drugs must meet the same quality and safety standards as the brand-name drugs. So, don’t skip doses or put off buying the drugs you need. Instead, consider generic drugs to help you save money.