If you are like me, you want to save money wherever you can. Especially as a senior on a fixed income. And you are concerned about the cost of healthcare. I have spent some time researching ways to hopefully save some money on those costs. Read further to see how to reduce healthcare costs for seniors.
The following categories may or may not apply to you. But I hope you will read them all because you never know! This article is primarily written with residents of the US in mind. I don’t know if most of it applies to other countries.
Self Pay Discount
As the name implies, if you pay for the service yourself providers may give you a discount on the cost. This policy and discount can vary widely, so it is best to check with your provider or doctor to see what they would agree to. Even if you have insurance, you may still qualify for some discount!
Communicating with your doctor or provider is key here. I would further recommend you get the policy in writing as well, so there is no misunderstanding down the road.
Coupons for Medicine
You have probably heard of GoodRx, and maybe other coupon services. There are so many, that I think I may need to write another article on just that topic. In the meantime, besides GoodRx, there is WebMDRx, WellRx, Discount Drug Network, and SingleCare.
You can click on any of the names and the link I provided above will take you to their site. Compare the offerings. Call the local pharmacy as well. I have heard some bad reports that the discount provider claims the pharmacy will take the coupon, but when you get to the pharmacy, they refuse it.
I also read that you can’t use a coupon for medication covered by Medicare. But if you want to pay out of pocket, you may use the coupon. Again, check to see which is the best deal. Hopefully one option will save you some money.
Review Your Medications
This isn’t just a money saving idea, but something that should be done at least once a year. Consulting with your primary care physician and discussing all your medications is important. You might find out a better medication is available, or you should stop taking another if it has adverse side effects. This should be a discussion that takes time and back and forth information sharing.
Before you talk with them, I recommend you know why you are taking the medication. Who knows, you might not have the health issue anymore and could stop it. There would be savings right there.
If you have social security and are over 65, you qualify for Medicare. The payments for the plan will come out of your social security payments, so be sure to figure those costs out. You will get Parts A and B; which are doctor and hospital plans. You can opt into part D also, which is the prescription plan. This will come out of your social security if you choose to get it.
But what, you ask, happened to C? Part C is usually called Medicare Advantage. This is a policy that covers care that Parts A and B don’t cover, like dental and vision. There is an additional fee for this coverage.
But be sure to check first to see what your plan does cover. It will likely depend on what provider you choose. Compare costs and coverage. This will take some time.
I originally chose to get Part C, but have since dropped it. (A very frustrating process; it’s easy to get signed up, but man was it hard to discontinue. They want your money!) I dropped it because I felt the dentist they referred me to was sketchy. They told me I needed a bunch of work that my previous dentist (one that was not in that network) didn’t say I needed.
I ended up calculating what my costs would be for out of pocket expenses (barring any emergencies) and decided I could save money for those expenses instead of paying for Part C.
You must do the work. Maybe Part C would save you money in the long run. Check out my Medicare link.
This video explains some other programs that might be available to you.
Get Fit and Stay Fit
This step shouldn’t cost you much, if anything. Simply walking 30 minutes, five times a day can get you fitter. It is simple because it needs no equipment, other than a pair of good shoes. I walk every day, even though I have chronic pain. So, if you want to be fit, get moving.
Exercise helps in so many ways, such as improving mental and emotional health. It can help you manage your pain and your weight. It also helps manage your blood glucose and blood pressure.
All those issues can cost you in medical bills and medication. Why not manage them naturally? And some insurances cover gym memberships, so be sure to check that out.
In fact, I believe the Part C of Medicare will in some cases cover a gym membership. Check it out.
As seniors we also need to watch our diet. I have written a post on what to eat to have a healthy balance. Check it out; Healthy Diet for Senior Citizens.
Check on Free Preventative Care
I believe that staying fit is a way to prevent some disease, and to manage others. I don’t just exercise to stay fit, I also use it to manage my pain. Because even though it hurts to walk, afterwards I have some relief. And let’s face it, if you don’t use it you lose it.
With that in mind, check to see if your insurance covers free preventive care like a wellness check up, immunizations, and some tests and screenings. This is cost effective for the insurer, because preventing illness is cheaper than having to treat it.
Check with your provider or plan to see what is offered. This might be a huge factor in determining which plan you choose. Again, I urge you to do your due diligence and find the plan that best fits your needs.
Take Advantage of Telehealth
During this time of the pandemic, telehealth has become very necessary. Telehealth is defined as a system to provide health related information via technology. It can be a two way street; where your doctor or provider contacts you to provide care or information, or you send questions or health related data to the doctor.
Keeping in contact this way can maximize your health by keeping you informed and proactive in your health journey. It also provides the doctor with information to keep you on the right plan. For instance, if you lose weight, you could contact your doctor to see if a blood pressure or diabetic prescription could be adjusted.
This might mean a decrease in prescription expenses. Or further knowledge on how to take better care of yourself. My friend was told by his doctor that if he lost ten pounds he could reduce one of his blood pressure medicines. What a great motivation! He is on his way to do so!
I have been able to virtually attend a Pain Management class through this system. I have learned a great deal of information from this class to help me with my chronic pain. So I recommend you find out what sort of telehealth options are available to you. It might help you feel better and save some money.
I am not a healthcare provider. I spent some time researching several topics in hopes you might find one or two helpful ideas to save money. I do not endorse any program over another. I plan to do reviews of some of the categories and compare programs.
In the meantime, your information will be invaluable if you have experience with any of these topics. So leave a comment.
Or leave a question if you would like to know more, and I will do my best to help you.
I plan to write another article on this same topic, as I found several more helpful topics, but I didn’t want to make this post too long.