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Saving on Health

When you’re looking to cut down on expenses, every little bit helps. From skipping that second coffee of the day to assessing current insurance coverage and holding garage sales, there’s a lot that you can do to cut down on your expenses. That being said, one expense that is all too often overlooked as being negotiable is healthcare expenses.

Healthcare expenses can be anything from picking up a regular prescription to needing to take an extra visit to the doctors. We’re going to take some time and discuss several things you can do to cut down on these costs.

Comparison shopping

People comparison shop for so many different expenses, but often don’t think to do it with their prescriptions. There are often different costs (on the same drug) from one pharmacy to another, so do your research and you can save a lot over time.

An alternative to traditional pharmacies are big box medical facilities, like Chemist Warehouse, that can often offer these medications at a much lower cost. If you’re considering checking out one of these services, use the links below to get you started.

Sites for online prescription purchases

http://www.australianonlinepharmacy.com.au/

http://www.epharmacy.com.au/default.asp

http://www.homepharmacy.com.au/home/

Preferred providers

Many private health insurance firms have a list of preferred providers, individuals who you can go to for lower cost (sometimes free) treatment. Make sure you’re aware of this list and who is on it, to keep your medical visits as cost effective as possible.

Generic medication

Doctors have a certain amount of flexibility with prescriptions. Though they try to recommend the most familiar, effective drugs to treat your health concerns, there are often generic versions of these same drugs available – at a much lower cost. Don’t be afraid to ask your physician if there is a generic alternative to his/her advised prescription, or even if there’s something over the counter you can take at a lower cost.

Rebates, rebates, rebates

On top of the regular tips and tricks for cutting down on costs, don’t forget to look for government rebates. The Australian government has long offered a private health insurance rebate that can go a long way towards making insurance more affordable.

This rebate is calculated based on your earnings, and the number of dependents being covered within your household, and it comes out in the form of a specific insurance discount. Can’t go wrong there!

Taking a walk

One of the easiest things you can do to keep your healthcare costs down? Start taking regular walks. Walking is one of the healthiest activities for you to engage in, it’s free and it’s easy, so why not try to keep yourself in the best possible shape. The healthier you keep yourself, the less costs you’re going to be incurring from healthcare providers!

Some final tips on cutting down on healthcare costs

  • Always ask if there is a generic or over the counter alternative solution available.
  • Be sure to provide your pharmacy of choice with your Medicare number. Without it, you cannot qualify for PBS subsidised pricing structures!
  • Don’t be afraid to comparison shop across medical brand names
  • Experiment with dosages on medications. If one higher dose pill helps you just as much as two lower dose pills, it may be more cost effective to switch to a higher dosage prescription.
  • Look on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net.
  • Understand authority prescriptions, and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor if you qualify.
  • Ensure you’re not being unfairly charged the therapeutic group premium, an excess charge on a medication that occurs when a lower cost alternative is available. In some cases, even if you are being charged, you may qualify for an exemption on this charge due to medical reasoning. Speak to your physician when in doubt.