Saturday, September 24, 2016

Back to Basics: Medical

Surprise! I don't normally write on the weekend since that is our time for family and fun. But I was up really early this morning so here is an extra post this week.

The next category that I needed to take a close look at was medical and drugs. We are spending a fortune on these. Our medical is Medicare as our primary and we have a supplemental plan that helps to pay the 20% that Medicare doesn't pay. The premiums for Medicare are set by the government so there isn't much we can do about those. Each Medicare recipient pays a premium every month to have that coverage. Then we have a premium every month for our supplemental family plan. We are fortunate that a prior employer subsidizes the Medicare premiums for both of us. But I always keep in my mind that that  benefit could away at any time.  However the supplemental plan has been skyrocketing ever since we retired, more so since the ACA was passed. But there isn't much we can do about that. It is what it is. We have hefty co - pays for medical, ER and hospital appointments. This is the reason that we don't run to a Dr. for a sniffle. We try to treat colds and respiratory things at home along with many other ailments. Dr. visits are numerous because as you age your primary and each specialist seems to want to see you every three months. So we try to only go for those visits. Of course with Hubby's illness recently those appointments ramped up which is one of the reasons we saved plenty for medical in retirement.

However, I did decide that we could do something about the drugs. I have tried to keep a handle on those over the years but I can do better. Yesterday, I made a list of all of the drugs both Hubby and I take regularly. Then I went to I looked up every drug we take to make sure that we were paying the cheapest price for each of them with our plan. I also took into account drug co-pays. For example, we have a lot of co-pays that are $50.00. If a drug was cheaper than that $50.00 somewhere else then I would go to that drugstore. For example, if a drug without using the insurance was $ 30.00 at Walmart I could go there.  Right now we seem to have the cheapest prices. So I was relieved that we are buying at the proper drugstore for us. We also can mail order which will save us a few dollars(not a lot) off of our co-pays. I am a little leary because we had to mail order when we lived in AZ and we would not get our drugs on time. When you need insulin and it doesn't show on time, it is an emergency. But I am going to be looking into the mail ordering this week. 

I also googled each brand name drug to see if there was a generic that had recently been released. Most of our drugs are generics but some are brand names and they are expensive not only for the insurance company but for us. There was no generic for any of our brand names. We pay very little for generics.

Then I went to check our name brand drugs here to see if there were any coupons or deals that we could get from the manufacturer. There are a couple that I will look into.

We have Dr. visits coming up over the next month so we will be checking with our doctors to see one of two things. First, we will ask the doctor if is there a generic drug that we could take in the same family of medication that would be as good. And if that answer is no, then is there a dosage that we take of a drug that can be doubled and the pill split without any adverse effects. This would cost us 1/2 of what we pay now.  

I am taking a drug that my Dr. told me last time I went that she might reduce the number of pills a day because my numbers are looking so good. To be able to do this, I have been carefully watching what I eat and my portions. I continue to loose weight. I am hoping she does because that would save some money. To be honest, I am hoping to totally get off of this drug in the next year.  I am trying to be as healthy as I can be. That is the real secret to saving on medical costs.

I wrote How To Save On Prescriptions and OTC Drugs prior if you would like to refresh your memory.

These are my plans to cut back on these costs. If I have missed something that you can share with all of us on these costs, please leave a comment. 



  1. Walmart is the cheapest pharmacy in our area also. I have to take thyroid medication and they offer a steep discount on that at $4 a month, however, if your doctor will prescribe a 3 month supply all at once, the price drops down to $10 for the whole thing! It may only be a $2 savings, buy hey, every bit counts and I can use that savings towards helping purchase the generic Sudafed that I need to take too. ;)