Which Health Costs You Should Never Cut
We all want to save money on health care costs, but some health costs should never be cut.
We all want to save money, and no area sucks money away more than health care. There are some great tricks you should always be doing to save money on health costs, but then there are some health care costs that you should never, ever economize on.
Health Insurance: It’s expensive and it’s confusing, and if you are basically healthy you might be tempted to just cut it out of your monthly budget. Don’t. Health insurance is your safety net and you need it in position before you fall. If you rarely need to visit the doctor, look for a policy with a high deductible (HD policies). They are becoming more and more popular since the monthly premiums are lower, but if you suffer a real emergency, you’ll know you can rely on someone else picking up the huge tab for your treatment.
Splitting Pills (that you shouldn’t split): When I first saw my grandma splitting pills, I thought it was the cleverest trick. You pay the same amount for a 400g pill as for a 200g pill (crazy, right?), and then you split the pill in half so that you now have two 200g pills for half the cost. However, not all pills are safe to split. Time-release pills, coated pills, and some other types cannot be split. At best they won’t work; at worst they could actually harm you. Before you start splitting your pills, always ask your doctor if it’s safe to do so.
Skipping A Prescription: Don’t let financial worries lead you to cut short the course of medicine that your doctor has prescribed you, or worse, to decide not to get it in the first place. If you’re struggling financially then do try to cut your drug costs by shopping around for the best price, asking your doctor if you could wait a few days before taking the drugs to see if it is self-limiting, or if there is a cheaper generic equivalent that you can take instead – but if your doctor is firm that you need a drug, skipping it could cost you a lot more than money.
Avoiding Well Check-ups & Preventive Medicine: Don’t skip well visits, screenings and immunizations. Preventive medicine will save you money in the long-term by keeping you healthy and active. Almost all health insurance plans offer free screenings for various conditions, while many cover well visits and immunizations (including flu shots). Especially if you are getting older or have a history of a particular disease in your family, getting free tests and check-ups for that illness will save both your money and your health. Don’t think that if you don’t know about a medical condition then you won’t have to pay to treat it. If a disease is caught early, your hopes for recovery are greater, your treatment options are wider, and the cost of treating it much lower than if it was caught at a later stage when you’ll be unable to avoid costly interventions.
Buying Counterfeit Drugs: Obviously, you’d never knowingly do this, but the pressure to cut costs wherever possible can lead us into the teeth of a scam before we realize. Counterfeit generic prescription drugs are fake drugs sold in imitation packaging, some of which can be extremely difficult to identify as fake. To reduce your chances of falling victim to counterfeit drugs scams, only buy from reputable sources. Costco and Target are both excellent, cheap sources of legitimate generic drugs. If your neighbor or friend offers to get you generic medication from an unnamed source, someone sells you drugs at an unusually low price, or the pharmacy is unregulated, be suspicious. Check the packaging and lot numbers closely, and consult your physician or pharmacist if anything looks odd. If you’re buying generic medication online (a good money-saving trick), be very careful to only buy through a legitimate website that is verified with VIPPS from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (the Center For Safe Internet Pharmacies offers more tools to check if an online pharmacy is legit).