Reports this week showed that United States increase in health care cost finally slowed down. We are not sure exactly which factors contributed to this change, but I suspect that physicians are getting creative with cost. Are you looking to cut your health care costs? From my experience, here are some things you can do:
· if you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day at $5 a pack, that is $150 a month, $1800 a year
· smoking increases your health insurance and life insurance premiums
· long–term smoking will likely lead to increased doctor visits, increased medications, increased ER visits, increased hospitalizations, more disability, increased need for home care
consider costs of your non-prescription medications
· look at your medicine cabinet – take out all the nonprescription medications, vitamins, and supplements
· how much are you spending on non-prescription medications?
· what is the evidence that these medications are helping you?
choose your pharmacy wisely
· pharmacies are excellent at selling you expensive things while you wait for your prescription to be filled!
· consider going to a pharmacy that does not have any tempting items
· consider going to a drive–thru pharmacy where you will not see other items for sale
· consider going to a bulk store that offers inexpensive prescriptions – like Target, Wal–Mart, Costco, Kmart
· consider using mail–order for your medications, you will get 90 day supply and avoid the pharmacy altogether
use your primary care staff
· many primary care offices have a nurse help line – use it!
· if there is a nurse or other clinical staff available to you on the phone, ask them simple questions rather than scheduling a doctor’s appointment
· for example: “here are my symptoms, what should I do? should I go to the ER? schedule an appointment?”, also “what should I look out for?”, “if this happens, what should I do next?”
review your prescription medications
· if you do take prescription medications, there may be lower cost alternatives
· schedule an appointment with your doctor to review your medication list, ask if there are any lower–cost options for the medications you need
· if you get a prescription and the cost seems too high, ask the pharmacist why, you may need a prior authorization
Live Mentally Healthy,
Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill