Consumer expert says skipping medications to save money is not the answer

According to a recent report by the health consumer organization Families USA over 34 percent of South Carolina residents under the age of 65, 1.3 million persons had no health insurance for at least a month between 2007 and 2008. 75 percent of those persons were uninsured for six months or more during that time. As unemployment rolls grow and the economy continues to falter more people, especially those with chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes are cutting back on health care spending to save money. Consumer expert Jim Miller is editor of the “The Savvy Senior” information service. Miller says many persons on low or fixed incomes are not getting their prescriptions filled or skipping doses of medication thus jeopardizing their health. Miller says persons with long or short term illnesses should used their doctors as a resource for finding medications at lower costs.
“It’s important that people always talk to their doctor or pharmacist to find out is there is a cheaper alternative medication that they may be able to get. Most people when they get a prescription from their doctor they take it and get it filled at their pharmacist and don’t ask any questions. It is important to be inquisitive to ask the questions necessary right up front because that might be able to save you a significant amount of money if there is a cheaper alternative.”  Miller says though economic times are tough persons should never compromise on their health to save a few dollars.
Miller says persons can often save money on their medications by buying in bulk. “A 90-day supply is often cheaper than a 30-day supply. Pill splitting is a great way to save money that a lot of people don’t think about, where you get a double dose of the medication that you’re required to take, split the pill in half and you can cut your cost in half.” Miller says it is a good idea to check with your local health associations and support groups in order to obtain the medications you need to maintain your health.
Miller says even if you have health coverage it is a good idea to check and see if you can get medications at the lowest possible costs. “It’s important that people to always check with their health plan or their pharmacist to make sure their getting their medications at the lowest possible co-pay because depending on the plan that you have or the medications that you are taking it can vary so you can save some money that way.”
Miller says persons can help themselves stay healthy the old fashioned way by eating healthy and exercising.