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How you can save on your monthly medication

NOTE: This post is brought to you by JanDrugs.ca

Saving money hasn’t always been exactly the sexiest topic among the younger demographic. Stashing cash for a vacation or a car makes it palatable in younger years, but building the practice of thrift into your lifestyle usually (but not always) comes with a bit more age and financial responsibility.

Interestingly enough, thrift and age often clash at the intersection of health care – specifically prescription medications. Age can bring ailments and ailments can sometimes throw thriftiness by the wayside. The price of prescription drugs can be an unexpected and sometimes lengthy financial burden for even the most prepared planners.

As a Canadian pharmacy, we see customers across generations that are mainly looking for a cost-effective way to get the medications they need to stay healthy. The truly thrifty have found even a few more ways to keep prescription medication costs low:

  • Understand Your Coverage – This is simple to say and sometimes difficult to actually do. Understanding how your health insurance covers prescription drug purchases can equal significant savings. Simply knowing what your co-pay is can prevent you from having to pay it if you don’t need to. In other words – if your prescription is going to cost you $10 and your co-pay is $20, cough up the cash and save yourself $10 by not using your health insurance. See? It seems like a no-brainer but many people have neither the time nor patience to really dig into their coverage terms to spot savings opportunities. Learning about your coverage can spur significant savings over the long haul.
  • Pill-splitting – Generally speaking, the larger the dosage the cheaper the prescription will be (per pill). Providing the pills are candidates for splitting (not gel caps or medications that are designed to release over time), you can buy larger doses and simply split the pills or tablets. Pill-splitters can typically be purchased at a pharmacy. Of course, your doctor will have to agree to prescribe the larger dosage in order for this to be an option. Always be careful with this option and make sure that you are ingesting the right dosage.
  • No Free Samples – Simple economics: The more free samples a pharmaceutical company gives out, the more likely they are to pass the cost of those free samples on to the consumer – you. Plus, you don’t want to get roped into using a particular drug for long-term treatment and have the free samples turn into a high-priced prescription.
  • Longer-term Prescriptions – Similar to the bigger-is-better notion behind pill-splitting, longer-term prescriptions often allow for savings. This tactic should only be used if you know you’ll be taking your medication for the entire length of the prescription, rather than a drug you might be able to stop using or use less of based on improving health.

For most, treating your prescription medication purchases with care might save you a few bucks a month. For some – depending on how many medications you take – it can result in a sizable savings. It is truly a component of living a more thrifty, financially responsible lifestyle.

Written by Lori Janeson. Check out .

Budgeting for Life Insurance

Note: this is a post brought to you by Genworth Financial.

For most 20-somethings, buying life insurance probably ranks as high as retirement planning on your to-do list. It’s understandable that considering life insurance can make people uneasy because buying life insurance puts us all one uncomfortable step closer to accepting that we are human – that we won’t live forever.  Ironically, planning for the end can actually serve to ease some of that anxiety. It can even be empowering to know that you’ve taken steps to ensure your family’s security.

The cold hard fact of debt is that the obligation to pay it off lasts after a person is gone. A well-thought out life insurance policy means that both short-term expenses  (funerals, medical bills) as well as long-term expenses (mortgages, car payments, student loans) can be taken care of. Furthermore, life insurance doesn’t mean that you’re taking an enormous bite out of your income now to plan for some distant future.

You need to consider how much insurance you may actually need. You need to think about how you spend your money and where there are opportunities to save a couple of dollars every month. We often don’t realize how much the little things add up. Making one cup of coffee at home per week instead of buying that cappuccino could save up to $16.00 a month.  Making your own lunch once a week rather than eating out could save about $40.00 a month. That’s $56.00 a month that could go to life insurance coverage.

Play around with Genworth’sfree life insurance budget calculator to get a sense of how much you can save every month.  It’s shocking how those little expenses can take a bite out of your monthly income.

Long-term Care: Life-long Independence

Note: this is a post brought to you by Genworth Financial.

We are living longer lives. Life expectancy has risen almost ten years beyond what it was in 1960. So with the cost of living increasing beyond the rate of inflation, budgeting for life post-retirement is so important. To complicate matters further, at least 70% of people over age 65 will require some long-term care and 40% of people under age 65 already require long-term care. So we should also be factoring the cost of long-term care into our long-life plans.

But then long-term care becomes yet another expense that must be paid for.

There are four ways to pay for long-term care: Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance or out-of-pocket. Medicare is a federal program that requires co-payment and provides hospital and medical insurance to people 65 years or older and qualified ill or disabled persons. Because the requirements for Medicare are so rigid, it’s not a good bet if finances are a foreseeable factor. For example, Medicare pays full expenses only for the first 20 days and only if there has been a three-day hospital stay.

Medicaid is set-aside for the indigent. Unless out-of-pocket is a viable option, then long-term care insurance (LTCI) is going to be a vital factor in ensuring that you can continue to live life in comfort, knowing that the care you need will be there for you.

It’s important to look into LTCI early on, as cost of insurance is affected by age, health and other external factors. Also, it’s a common assumption that everyone is eligible for LTCI – an assumption that’s false if you have some common pre-existing medical conditions (stroke, certain neurological conditions). That’s not the kind of information you want to find out until after it’s too late.

Gain a thorough understanding of the cost of care you can expect in your area, so that you can look for plans that suit your needs. Here’s a link that helps calculate the cost of care by state. LTCI policies are varied based on location, facility chosen and more personal factors.For some helpful insights about paying for long-term care, Genworth Financial provides some free information.

A long life is worth living well!

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