As we age, health issues often creep up that threaten to tarnish our golden years. Treating some of these diseases and conditions can be expensive.
Fortunately, there are ways to cut the cost of such care. Following are seven health conditions that tend to strike after age 50 — and how to lower the price of care if you are diagnosed with them.
Arthritis strikes about 91 million Americans. In 2013, it cost them an average of $2,117 per patient, according to a 2018 report from the Arthritis Foundation.
How to cut costs. The Arthritis Foundation has a webpage devoted to ways to trim the tab for arthritis care. It includes resources such as financial aid organizations and pharmaceutical programs that help pay for medications and surgery.
Around 54 million Americans have low bone density or osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Among women older than 50, 1 in 2 will break a bone due to the disease. Among men in that age group, the figure is 1 in 4.
How to cut costs. One study found that osteoporosis care cost the nation $22 billion in 2008. Prescription medications often are used to treat this condition, so ask your doctor about using less costly generic drugs.
Weight-bearing exercise — such as lifting weights, walking or running, and activities such as tennis — is also a great way to build bone density, and it costs little or nothing to do.
Finally, relatively cheap vitamin D supplements can help your body use calcium and strengthen bones. Ask your doctor if they are right for you.
More than 30 million Americans have diabetes. Your risk for the disease increases as you age; more than one-quarter of adults ages 65 or older have diabetes.
Diagnosed diabetes cost the nation $327 billion in 2017, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Patients diagnosed with diabetes bear the brunt of those costs. The price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, and people with diabetes incur health care costs 2.3 times higher than people without the disease, according to the ADA.
How to cut costs. Getting tested early for diabetes is the key to keeping care costs under control. As the disease progresses, it can become more dangerous — and significantly more expensive to treat.
If you have diabetes, costs will be lower if your health insurance covers your treatments. The ADA’s Diabetes Forecast magazine has some tips for persuading your insurer to help pay for diabetes devices and supplies.
Finally, a healthful diet and regular exercise can help you control diabetes. In some cases, your efforts might be so effective that you no longer need expensive treatment. The ADA has tips for food and exercise on its website.