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
8 Things You Can Buy for $1 or Less on Amazon
8 Things You Can Buy for $1 or Less on Amazon

They say you get what you pay for — but not always. Sometimes, you can uncover a good deal at a great price.

Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep
Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep

A study finds 96% of retirees make this mistake when claiming Social Security benefits.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind
10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind

Here’s how to change those bad behaviors.

9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

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.

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.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors
7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors

These accounts offer exclusive discounts and other perks — including interest — to older customers.

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.