Clinics, Samples, Discounts: Save Money Now on Your Health

Four insider tips to get the care you need for far less than you thought

Consider keeping your insurance card in your purse or your pocket the next time you head to the pharmacy — and ask the pharmacist instead what your prescription would cost without it.

It just might save you money.

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That insider tip is one of several being shared more openly these days by physicians, pharmacists — even insurers — as Americans look to save any way they can on escalating medical bills.

Some pharmacies have a “30 day $4 copay” program or similar programs for certain drugs based upon their negotiated prices with the manufacturers, as Dr. Mohamed “Moe” Jalloh — a California-based clinical pharmacist, assistant professor, and spokesman for the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) — told LifeZette. “If your insurance copay would be more than this — then I would fill that medication under the pharmacy’s program.”

Such medication discounts are common with some big-name pharmacies and some of the independents, he added. He’s seen copays go from $30 down to $4 with such plans. Whether it will work for you is largely dependent upon your insurance provider.

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Related: Surprising Advice from a Pharmacist

A Nerd Wallet consumer survey of more than 2,000 Americans this month found we believe there really are only two acceptable reasons to go into credit card debt — emergency purchases and medical expenses. Sadly, that is how a growing number of us are paying our bills.

Check out the tips mentioned in the video above: When it comes to prescriptions — ask for coupons, discount cards, or samples from your doctor. Often the manufacturers provide physicians with all of them.

Drug stores and shopping centers frequently offer free screenings for blood pressure and other conditions, as well as flu shot clinics. Also, ask to see itemized bills as they get sent to your insurer. Nerd Wallet reports 49 percent of all medical claims that get billed contain errors.

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