The annual insurance renewal process is a difficult time for employees and employers alike, especially when faced with the rising cost of health care. Employers do their best to make the plans they offer affordable, and employees are often unhappy with the amount they must pay to receive coverage for their families. If employers take a proactive approach toward addressing health care costs with their employees, the financial burden of carrying benefits can be softened. By introducing employees to money saving strategies that can reduce the overall cost of health care for the company, rising premium costs can be stopped in their tracks.
Cost Effective Strategies for Purchasing Prescription Medication
Here are a few suggestions that can help employees and employers save on health care costs.
- When prescribed a new medication at the doctor’s office, ask for a sample before filling a full prescription. Pharmaceutical representatives leave samples of many medications with physicians, and this is a cost effective way to see if the medication is beneficial or not. For instance, many patients must try different anti-depressant medications before finding the right one. Instead of having the insurance company pay upwards of $125 for each prescription, patients can try different medication samples until the best results are achieved.
- Many patients who experience pain and inflammation are prescribed NSAID, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, medications. The family of NSAID medications ranges greatly in strength and most drugs are available in brand-name and generic form. Patients should experiment with generic NSAID medications to see if they receive the same results as from their brand-name counterparts. Choosing to go with a generic medication will save the employee money in co-pay costs and save the employer money in overall costs.
- Doctors generally become familiar with a certain medication and prescribe it over and over again, and at times they must be asked by patients to use an alternative medication on their provider’s formulary. When a patient opts to go with a formulary medication instead of a similar non-preferred one, the savings gets passed on to both the employee and the employer.
- Employees should be reminded to follow the directions of their doctors carefully when taking prescribed medications. Skipping doses of required medications to extend the time between renewals will not save you or your insurance plan any money in the long run. Missing doses or not following the warnings of your doctor can lead to illnesses and hospital stays, which are emotionally draining on your family and financially draining, as well.
Passing Down the Saving to Employees. All of this advice makes sense and is sure to reduce the overall health care costs companies face, but without seeing a difference in the amount employees pay in premiums, workers might not see the incentive of making everyday choices to reduce the cost of health care. Employers must live up to their promise of lowering health care premiums when employees work toward lowering overall expenses, otherwise they will not see why it is worth the effort.
All examples in this article are for purposes of illustration and should not be construed as medical advice. Prices are estimates based on current retail market value.