Tag Archives: Student Health Insurance

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!

Mother’s Day Breakfast Idea

Mother’s Day is this upcoming Sunday. While browsing through recipes on the Whole Foods website, we came across this cute bed-in-breakfast idea. It’s a morning treat that’s super easy to prepare but special enough for mom.

Heart Shaped Egg-in-a-Hole

Ingredients

2 slices brioche loaf, each about 3/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large eggs
Chives for garnish
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Using a large (2.5- or 3-inch) heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out a heart from the center of each slice of brioche. Or, use a paring knife to cut the heart shapes. Reserve slices and hearts.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the slices and the heart cutouts to the pan and cook until slightly toasted. Turn slices and cutouts; carefully break an egg into the center of each slice. Cover the skillet and cook until the egg white is just set and the yolk is cooked to your liking, 3 to 4 minutes.

Carefully transfer a slice and a cutout to each of 2 plates and snip some chives over the top. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Per serving: 240 calories (150 from fat), 17g total fat, 9g saturated fat, 205mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 14g total carbohydrate (0g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 9g protein

Source: Whole Foods Recipes

Three Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

It’s spring, which means it’s time to clean your place from head to toe. Sounds like fun, right? But with final exams coming up — who has the time? I’m sure that you would pick cleaning over studying any time… but for now, here are three easy ways you can spring clean your diet before finals week.

1. Switch from soda to lemon water

One of the easiest ways to clean up your diet is to ditch the soda. Whatever you do… don’t fail for the diet or zero calorie nonsense. Diet-soda or regular, there are plenty of health warnings about the stuff. A favorite drink among detox enthusiasts is lemon water — warm or cold. Just squeeze the juice of a half of a fresh lemon into water and sip.

2. Repair cells with kale

Kale is antioxidant rich and considered nature’s scouring pad for its ability to scrub your cells clean. My favorite way to eat kale is to boil kale for about 5 minutes (you don’t want it to turn brown) and sprinkle a small amount of vinegar on it — preferably plum vinegar, which can be found at your local supermarket, like Publix and Whole Foods. Loaded with that dark green pigment, kale is chock-full of antioxidants that fight disease and cell damage.

3. Swap out refined sugar for fruit

If you normally sprinkle sugar on your cereal in the morning, try slicing a banana on top instead. The goal here is to think of fruit as your sweetener of choice — and get creative with it! Try apple slices on your almond-butter sandwich instead of jam, or kiwi slices in your Greek yogurt in place of honey.

There are many ways you can clean out your system, but at least these 3 ways will get you started before you say bye spring semester and HELLO to summer.

Q: How do you spring clean your diet? Any advice for people trying a detox plan this spring?

What’s for dinner tonight? How about the B.B.B… Black Bean Burger!

Homemade black bean burgers make a delicious vegetarian meal that’s cheap, easy and healthy. Black beans are more than just a meat substitute… they are high in fiber and antioxidants to help you keep a good waistline and prevent diseases.  Vegetarian or not — you want to include beans in your diet. The bottom line is that they are a protein rich superfood!

VEGAN BLACK BEAN BURGER RECIPE

Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup of corn, drained and rinsed from the can

2 slices of bread that are crumbled

½ cup of crumbled crackers

¼ cup of finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons of garlic powder

2 teaspoons of chili powder

¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper

2 teaspoons of olive oil

Steps:

Drain and rinse the can of black beans and corn. In a large bowl, mash the black beans but leave half of the black beans in their original bean form (un-mashed). In the large bowl, mix the black beans, corn, onion, chili powder and garlic powder. Then mix in the crumbled crackers. With your hand, divide the black bean burger mixture up into four parts. Form the mixture into 2 inch thick burger patties and set aside. You should have about 4-6 burgers from the mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Carefully place burger patties unto the skillet. Heat each side of the burger patty for about 5 minutes. Be very careful when flipping burger patties. The burgers will hold together, but they have a tendency to crumble if handled too much or too roughly. Make sure each side of the burger patty is slightly brown. Add salt and pepper when burgers are finished.

Place your black bean burger on a bun, of your choice and garnish with your favorite burger toppings. We recommend adding a tomato, lettuce, spicy mustard, ketchup and an onion roll as your bun.

College Students Should Make Exercise A Habit

Having exercise as a habit means never thinking twice about working out!

Recently the Founder and CEO of Collegiate Risk Management, Vonda White gave advice to Pretty Hard Work on how to get motivated to work out. Working out is very important for being healthy and succeeding in college… so here’s the scoop on exercise motivation.

First off — Here’s some insight on Ms. White. Vonda not only started the successful student health insurance company, Collegiate Risk Management in 1996, she has also become a success coach and author. Her book, Success Against the Odds and Success Planner have helped others turn their dreams into reality. She strives to inspire and help others achieve their goals through her effective goal-getter process. Learn more here!

In the article on Pretty Hard Work, Vonda explains how the best way to get motivated to work out is by making it a daily habit. You want to stop saying that you “should” work out and just start doing it one day. It only takes 21 days to have a new positive habit, after all! So decide right now when, where and how you will work out regularly.

Try looking at exercise like school — you have a set schedule on when and where your classes are that you can’t change. If you skip class, you’ll miss valuable information that may hurt your grade or even worse… your future. Therefore slacking off isn’t even an option — You work hard and finish strong with positive results!

Don’t waste another minute of wishing you were fit. See below how to get motivated and make exercise a habit!

So… what motivates you to work out?

It never hurts to ask

Overall, doctors are a compassionate group.  They became doctors to help people after all.  Given the right circumstances, most would consider granting a discount.  However, before you ask, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, your doctor may have already discounted their fee without you even asking.  Perhaps they only charged you for ten minutes of their time when you have taken thirty. The receptionist may be able to tell you if this is so, or could apprise you of your doctor’s usual and customary charges.

And, a word about co-pays.  Your doctor is required by law and contract to collect these payments.  Under most co-pay situations the fee has already been “adjusted” downwards by 20 to 50 percent.  If a doctor charges you say, $100, insurance often knocks that down to about $65, the remaining $35 simply disappearing as a “negotiated” adjustment.  Of the remaining $65 a good $40 goes to overhead (staff, rent, utilities, malpractice insurance, equipment, etc.).  If your insurance pays $40 of the $65 negotiated fee, that leaves your $25 co-pay to cover the doctor’s time with you.  These “negotiated fees” have dropped so low that many doctors are finding it difficult to stay in business.

In summary, if you have financial concerns, talk to your doctor about a discount.  Some doctors offer small billing discount for cash up front and others allow interest-free monthly payments.

Also, check out your Health Center on campus!  Health Centers have doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners who can care for you at a discount.  Student Health Centers are great place for SAVINGS!

CRM Tip: Be reasonable, but it never hurts to ask!

How to Prepare for a Doctor’s Appointment

Know why you are going and know what you want!

You can save money and time, by knowing why you are going to the doctor and what you hope to accomplish.  You can save money by saving time.  Charges for physician visits are not based solely on time spent with a patient, it does factor into the equation.  Many physicians note the time they enter a patient’s room and the time they leave, for billing purposes.  You can save money by doing the same.  Keep track and stay focused.

Much can be accomplished if your goals are clear.  Get a notebook and jot down your thoughts.  Make a list of what you hope to address.  Prioritize your needs and let your doctor know what concerns you most.  After your visit, make additional notes regarding your doctor’s comments and plans.

Your doctor is more likely to throw in a “freebie” if you make your requests known up front and stay on task.  If you wait until they are about to leave the room, they will groan inwardly and may adjust your bill upward.

Here are some tips:

  • If you are having bloodwork and forgot to fast, you may have to return
  • Is your knee hurting?  Wear shorts or a skirt to hasten the exam.
  • Bad toe?  Take off your socks and shoes – do you really want to pay the doctor to watch you take them off?
  • Need refills?  Check your prescriptions before you leave home.  Make a list of what you have and what you’ll need for your doctor to review.
  • Plan ahead and organize your thoughts
  • Check ahead if you need refills
  • Know your formulary
  • Bring a record of your blood sugar or blood pressure.
  • Fill out forms ahead that you need to have completed
  • Get a copy of the $4 list from your local pharmacy
  • Keep a notebook
  • Make a computer file of your medicines and print an updated list for every visit.
  • Type out two copies of an organized, detailed description of your problems with room for your doctor’s comments.

The Importance of Following Doctor’s Orders

Be compliant and your doctor will trust you!

Patient:  When do you want to see me again, doc?

Doctor:  It all depends!

It depends on your age, your condition, your understanding, your compliance with the therapeutic plan and it may depend on your finances.  But a better question might be why you should return at a particular time.  If your doctor trusts you, he or she will probably gladly relinquish much of your care to you, the patient.

For example, if you don’t take your medicine correctly, doctors don’t want to be held responsible.  Take the case of a diabetic (who knows better) but doesn’t take his insulin correctly, and his blood sugars end up being too high or too low.  He could end up in a coma – or worse.  No doctor can help a patient who won’t help himself.  For patients that a doctor can trust to do the right thing, those more reliable patients do not need to be seen as frequently.

Your doctor will trust you to return less often if you share an understanding of your treatment.  Doctors are more likely to trust patients who:

  • Show up for their appointments
  • Know their medications
  • Understand their condition or illness
  • Take care of themselves

Using diabetes as an example again, if you control your blood sugar, along with your cholesterol and blood pressure, the interval between visits might be stretched from say, three months to four months, saving you the cost of one office visit and one set of blood work per year, easily over $100.  The same applies for other chronic conditions and illnesses such as asthma, depression, and high blood pressure.

CRM Tip: The point here is to take control of your health care, not compromise it. Be responsible and your doctor will learn to trust you and you will be able to come less often.

Why one doctor visit is less than two!

Almost always, one longer visit with your doctor is cheaper than two shorter visits.  (1 + 1 < 2)

The immediate savings for insured patients is obvious, with only one co-payment due rather than two.  But even for self-pay patients, longer visits are often more cost effective.

Doctors don’t like to be surprised by extra problems or work on two problems in the time allotted for one.  So, the answer to this is to simply plan ahead and when you call for your appointment, explain the situation and request more time.  If a longer appointment is not available at the original appointment time, ask for a different time or different day.  Your doctor will want to allow sufficient time to address your multiple concerns adequately.  Calling ahead alerts the office staff to the need of special coding (modifiers) when a procedure (such as an ear infection or wart removal) is combined with a Pap Smear or Breast Exam.

Plan ahead and your doctor will work with you for a happier solution.

CRM Tip: The list is endless, but the point is clear. Two problems take longer than one, but one visit is cheaper than two.

The Power of Family Doctors

Unless you are having heart by-pass surgery or perhaps a hysterectomy, you probably don’t need to go to a specialist.

For common illnesses such as acne, asthma, or anxiety, your good old family physician is well equipped to diagnose and treat these conditions most of the time and odds are, they will save you money.

Not only is your doctor likely to charge you less, overall family doctors are less likely to order expensive testing.  Specialists often look for  a definite diagnosis, whereas your family doctor may focus more on symptom relief.  He or she may offer a therapeutic trial of medicine, reserving expensive testing for conditions that aren’t easily resolved.

Family or primary care doctors aren’t just for colds and sore throats, they’re trained to handle 90 to 95% of all conditions encountered in their daily practice.  This list of conditions is long and overlaps considerably with a broad range of sub-specialities.

If you have a problem and wonder whether your doctor can handle it, give your doctor a call and if they cannot, then they will refer you to a trusted specialist, ideally one that they would be willing to see themselves!

Below is a partial list of conditions that family doctors treat on a daily basis, which normally do not require a specialist:

  • Acne, psoriasis, eczema, headache, migraine, insomnia, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, stress
  • Ear infection, hearing loss, dizziness
  • Pink eye, styes, scleral hemorrhage
  • Allergies, sinusitis, nose bleed
  • Mouth ulcers, thrush, tonsillitis, parotiditis
  • Swollen glands, goiter, stiff neck
  • Asthma, COPD, emphysema, laryngitis
  • Stable heart failure, stable angina, chronic atrial fibrillation, most heart murmurs, most palpitations, most chest pain
  • Acid reflux, ulcers, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel, hemorrhoids
  • Urine infections, kidney stones, overactive bladder, prostate infection or enlargement
  • Pap smears, birth control, menopause
  • Diabetes, thyroid disease, weight loss or gain, obesity
  • Back pain, sciatica, gout, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, warts, nail fungus
CRM Tip: Did you know consultants charge more, often considerably more, for what is frequently the same service your family doctor may render?