Serious Savings for Serious Illnesses

Photo (cc) by Fillmore Photography

Sometimes, it’s unseemly to save money. For instance, if a loved one has a serious or chronic illness, the last thing you want to be overheard asking the doctor is, “How can I cut down on my expenses here?”

But what if you can save money without jeopardizing the medical care? A new study from a team of researchers (including some from Harvard) revealed that generic drugs can save a lot of cash when it comes to preventing and treating serious ailments.

It’s been proven for a long time now that generic drugs work – especially over-the-counter medications for headaches and allergies. But it’s also been controversial. While Money Talks News has told you about Saving Money on Drugs, one study earlier this year (by the same researchers mentioned above and sponsored by CVS/Caremark) showed that nearly a quarter of doctors are suspicious of generic drugs. Why? Maybe, the researchers suggested, because “75 percent said they receive their information from the pharmaceutical representatives.” Those reps are obviously going to promote their higher-profit brand-name drugs over cheaper generics.

But this latest study is quite clear: “With more than 70 percent of health care costs in the U.S. spent treating patients who have one or more chronic disease, the researchers said generic medications are changing the economics of treating chronically ill patients.”

Here’s one example…

Using brand-name drugs to lower the LDL (or bad) cholesterol costs $83,327 “per quality adjusted life year,” which the study defines as “a financial measure that evaluates the impact of improving the quality of life for patients with chronic diseases.” Using the generic equivalent? $17,084, “or 20 percent of the original estimate.”

“No matter who holds the financial risk – the patient, employer, or government health plan – using generic medications has to be a key part of managing treatment for chronically ill patients,” says Dr. Troyen A. Brennan, one of the study’s authors.

So what can you do?

  1. If you or a loved one is suffering from a serious or chronic condition, don’t ask your doctor, “Can I get this in a generic?” Instead, be direct: “Is there a generic medication that treats this condition?” If his answer is yes, tell him you want that particular drug. (Remember, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the effectiveness and safety of generic drugs, just as it does for name-brand drugs.)
  2. If your doctor isn’t budging, get a second opinion – perhaps from a younger doctor. The research team found in its earlier study that, “Physicians 55 or older were 3.3 times more likely to have negative perceptions about generics than those between 25 and 34.”
  3. If you have a serious or chronic condition, go online and find a support group. There are groups for every condition, where sufferers offer support and share treatment tips – which often include how to save money and deal with doctors.

Bottom line: When you or a loved one is ailing, the last thing on your mind might be saving money. But there are proven ways to not only stretch your health care dollars but also improve the quality of care. Here are some other helpful tips…

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Hobbies That Help You Live Longer
7 Hobbies That Help You Live Longer

Research shows some hobbies can add years — or even decades — to your life.

8 Ways to Snag Extra Savings at Walmart
8 Ways to Snag Extra Savings at Walmart

Are you aware of all these ways to boost your savings in Walmart stores and at Walmart.com?

8 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buying
8 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buying

You may think you’re looking at a must-have purchase. But do the numbers and think twice.

10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores
10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores

Wholesale clubs might have great deals, but these mistakes will cost you.

16 Products You Absolutely Do Not Need
16 Products You Absolutely Do Not Need

There are plenty of great ways to spend your money, but you can safely leave these products on the store shelf.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach
10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach

Does the pandemic have you reaching for bleach more than ever before? Learn the ins and outs of using this powerful disinfectant.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.