Whether you’ve got a cold, need a prescription, or are due for a checkup, there are easy ways to get around spending a bundle on any of your medical needs. Check out these comprehensive tips for saving on healthcare expenses!
Trim 50 percent off the price of over-the-counter meds.
The bill for drugstore remedies that treat coughs, colds, allergies, headaches and muscle aches adds up fast, costing the average household more than $330 every year. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to save without giving up the trusted brands you prefer: Head to the store with the lowest prices on name-brand OTC meds — Walmart! In numerous price-comparison studies, the popular retailer beat their biggest competitors (including CVS, Rite Aid, Target, and Walgreens) by up to 50 percent in virtually every OTC category. For example, a half-ounce bottle of nasal congestion–relieving Afrin nose spray is half the price at Walmart as compared to CVS (Buy at Walmart, $4.98). Or use your Costco or Sam’s Club membership, both of which offer similar savings on popular OTC brands.
Save 85 percent on your Rx.
If you’re spending more than $125 per year in out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs, consider a new way to save on your meds: Sign up for Amazon Prime ($119 per year) or Walmart+ ($98 per year). Not only do these memberships offer free shipping on purchases along with other money-saving perks, they now give you big savings on your pharmacy needs. With Amazon Prime, if you’re paying without health insurance, you’ll save up to 80 percent on generic drugs and up to 40 percent on brand names. If you have insurance, Amazon will tell you whether they can beat your insurer’s price. And Walmart+ members save up to 85 percent on thousands of prescription meds, plus get a select number of meds for free! To learn more, visit Walmart+ and Amazon Prime.
Bonus Tip: Call your health insurer and ask if they’re still sending your Explanation of Benefits by mail. Many switched to digital versions, making it harder to spot costly mistakes like medical fees, billing errors and fraud.
Spend $100s less on Medicare coverage.
It’s currently the Open Enrollment period for Medicare, which means from now until December 7, you can shop around for a new Medicare Advantage (aka “Part C”) health or prescription drug plan. And it’s worth comparing costs since premiums have dropped an average of 34 percent over the past three years to historic lows, saving you a bundle on monthly premiums without losing coverage. To compare plans, visit the Medicare website or get personal assistance by calling 877-839-2675.
Tip: If you’re about to turn 65, sign up for Medicare before your birthday to avoid pricey late penalties, such as a higher lifetime monthly premium.
Nab cheaper insurance.
Thanks to the recent passage of the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act, health insurance companies now have greater competition from new, lower-cost insurers, which is expected to drive down the price of monthly premiums and other out-of-pocket costs. Take advantage of the Open Enrollment period for health insurance from November 1 to December 15 to compare the cost of available plans. Simply search online for your state and “individual health insurance” or visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at the official HealthCare website.
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.