Category Archives: Helpful advice about insurance and doctors

Use Coupons For Prescription Medications

Greater savings is available using coupons for brand name prescription medications.

Pharmaceutical companies offer coupons for discounts or rebates for two reasons:

1. To encourage you to try their medication

2. To keep you on their medication

Coupons are available through your doctor, your pharmacist or online. Try a Google search for “drug name” and “coupon.” You may even find offers in your local newspaper or favorite magazine.

Some pharmaceutical companies offer coupons for a free trial of medication, from a three-day introductory offer to an entire month’s prescription free. Others offer a discount or rebate on your out-of-pocket expense, including co-pay amounts, as high as $50 per month. Some are one-time offers, but many are renewable for a few months, or a year, or even for as long as you require the medication. The reusable for a few months or a year, or even for as long as you require the medication. The reusable coupons usually come in the form of a plastic card that you present to the pharmacy each time you need a refill. If the discount is in the form of a rebate, make sure you keep your receipts.

Some of these programs are not available to government-sponsored (Medicare and Medicaid) prescription plan beneficiaries.

A second type of coupon is offered through retail pharmacies and commonly involves new or transfer prescription. The coupon may be worth more than the price of the drug you are purchasing! Some stores will honor another retailer’s coupon as well. Potentially you could actually make a profit — transfer a $5 prescription and receive $20 in store merchandise.

Retail pharmacy coupons may appear in local publications, or show up in your personal mail. In general, they apply to either generic or brand name medications. Discounts may be offered on current or future prescriptions, other store merchandise, or even gasoline purchases. Some retailers offer gift cards rather than discounts. Large retailers offer gift cards rather than discounts. Large retailers offer coupons and discounts online as well. Go to your local pharmacy’s website for additional information.

If you’re lucky, you may able to combine a retail pharmacy coupon with that of a pharmaceutical company.

Happy coupon hunting!

Advertisements

Are you spending too much on prescription drugs?

If you have prescription coverage, odds are you have a formulary, which can save you a lot of money on prescription drugs.

What is a formulary?

A drug formulary is a list of prescription drugs (both generic and brand name) that are preferred by your health insurance plan. Your plan may only pay for medications that are on their “preferred” list, unless your healthcare provider talks with your health plan and gets prior approval.

Most insurance companies maintain formularies, or a list of drugs that they pay for as a plan benefit, usually using a tiered system. Less expensive drugs have the lowest co-pay (Tier 1), the most expensive drugs have the highest co-pay (Tier 3), and the remainder lie in between (Tier 2). This tier designation does not go strictly on retail price — insurance companies negotiate for discounts that sometimes may make a costlier drug preferred over a less costly one.

Formularies are organized along therapeutic classes. For example, they all contain several blood pressure pills, antibiotics and diabetic medications, though often only one mediation from each therapeutic sub-class.

How do I save money on prescription drugs with my formulary?

If your doctor chooses from your list of preferred drugs or formulary, it will save you money. How does your doctor know what to choose? In short, your doctor doesn’t… not unless they have access to your formulary or list of drugs covered by your insurance plan. Get two copies — bring one with you to every doctor visit. Have your doctor keep the other in your chart for reference.

Tier 1 drugs may not necessarily be your first choice. You may be intolerant of a certain drug, or perhaps unresponsive to it. You may be stable on a particular name brand prescription for years already and are therefore hesitant to make a change. Some medications require blood level monitoring, and levels may be more consistent with brand name medications. Switching to a generic may not save you money if you need to have your blood level checked more often.

Additional savings are available in the form of coupons or rebates from pharmaceutical companies, which may save you $20 to $50 off your co-pay, thereby lowering your out-of-pocket cost for a higher tiered drug to the same as that of a lower tiered medication.

So to sum it up… know your formulary and partner with your doctor to save money!

Like us on Facebook!

When it comes to your heath, we have your back. So what’s not to LIKE?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @StudentHealthy for helpful information about your health!

Our Facebook page got a makeover! And so did almost every page… thanks to Facebook’s new, Timeline. But that’s beside the point. We are very excited to be more active on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We use these communities to give our schools, and students like you, useful information while also answering any questions you have about your insurance plan.

Our Twitter followers and Facebook fans get helpful information daily about their health insurance, being healthy and succeeding in college. Things like…

  • Information about their insurance policy and coverage
  • How to eat well in college
  • Ways to succeed in your classes, major and job search
  • Fun workouts that actually work
  • Advice about how to save money on healthcare
  • And more…

Be assured that you’re insured with us! When it comes to your heath, we have your back. So what’s not to LIKE about us? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @StudentHealthy today!

Not all doctors see eye to eye

Not all eye doctors are created equal!

An optometrist, also commonly referred to as an “eye doctor”, is not a physician, but rather a trained professional licensed to examine patients for visual defects, and to prescribe glasses and contact lenses.  The glasses themselves, are made by an optician.  An optometrist usually offers a lower examination fee that an ophthalmologist.  If you’re healthy, have no insurance, and only need a pair of glasses, see your local optometrist (or the one employed at your local superstore).

However, if you have a medical problem, it may cost you less to see an ophthalmologist.  Ophthalmologists are physicians trained in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the eye, including cataracts, glaucoma, or problems resulting from diabetes or high blood pressure.  Ophthalmologists prescribe eye medications and perform eye surgery, but often prescribe eyeglasses or contacts as well.  Ophthalmologists are covered under your insurance (including Medicare) the same as any other specialist, such as a cardiologist.  (Traditional Medicare does not cover optometrists).  Any person who has high blood pressure or diabetes has a valid reason to see an ophthalmologist.

Physicians and optometrists both refer to ophthalmologists for a variety for conditions including certain infections, injuries to the eye, uncorrectable visual problems, lazy eye, glaucoma, cataracts, persistent styes, macular degeneration, diabetic or hypertensive retinopathy, iritis, and droopy eyelids.

Even if you have no disease of the eye other than poor vision, your insurance may cover a visit to a medical eye doctor.  Again, check your policy first for coverage, and your list of covered physicians (ophthalmologists), optometrists and opticians.  Hopefully this information will help you see your way to savings.

CRM Tip: Most student plans do not cover anything but injury or disease of the eye, so you may need to purchase a separate “Vision Insurance Plan” for help with paying for your glasses or contacts. These are very inexpensive and can cost as little as $15 for a discount vision plan through Co-Health USA. Visit the products page on our website to check it out!