Saturday, June 6, 2009

Shopping for Meds

I know I'm a Senior Citizen around here. My friends call me Ms Sarah, Mama Sarah, Mother Confessor. I don't mind.

I probably take more prescription meds than most of you, so you may think this blog doesn't apply to you. But you may have a parent, grandparent, sibling, neighbor, or someone who is struggling with the cost of prescription medication and could use some relief.

I take seven prescription medications every day, along with a handful of vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements, and assorted other stuff. It takes a lot to keep a sister alive these days.

As a retired employee of the State of NC, my health care premium is free for life, or until they change something. Due to the current economic downturn the State Health Plan has made some changes to keep the plan solvent. Co-pays are increasing, as well as premiums for family members. Tinker has his own retirement, so that's not an issue. But for a lot of State employees the increase means they can't afford to insure their families. It was a short-sighted move on the part of the State, since it's the young people who don't have major medical expenses, who keep the plan afloat for us old folks.

I used to think a $30 co-pay for a 90-day supply of a generic medication was a good deal, until I realized that those same meds on the open market cost less than $30 for a 90-day supply. The preferred pharmacy for State insurance, Medco has been making money off of us. The open-market players have gotten into the pharmacy business and are selling that same 90-day supply for $10.

I've been a little slow in getting into the game, but this week I jumped in. Wal-mart, Target, and all the local grocery chains are in the game. In addition they offer incentives for bringing your new prescription, or transferring one from your old pharmacy. When I picked up my three generics yesterday that previously cost $90 total, I paid $30. It would have been $50 because I take 2 pills per day of two of those prescriptions, but I had earned two $20 incentives for two prescriptions I filled for a family member the day before. I can only cash in one at a time. Not a bad deal.

This is something I've been planning to do for months, but when a new Harris-Teeter opened across the street from my health club, I knew I had to do it.

If you can't take advantage of this kind of discount, check with mama, grandma, auntie, and 'nem. I bet somebody you know can.

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