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I am super excited to bring details of the new LifeInCheck™ prescription drug plan which provides prescription drug savings. It’s also helping me to effectively navigate my high deducible insurance plan by saving me time and money on prescription drugs.
Honestly- whenever we get sick at home I want to sob- kind of like what Little Sister is doing in the photo above. It’s something that I don’t talk about or write about much- but it’s the truth. Unexpected illness for us can mean extremely high medical bills- and for some reason I find the fact that we don’t have great insurance a bit embarrassing.
The Hidden Cost of High Deductible Insurance
We have high deductible insurance. this means that we pay a (slightly, ever so slightly) lower monthly cost for private insurance, and then we pay between 80 and 100% of the cost of doctor visit and the prescribed medication- until we reach our deductible for the year. In 6 or so years with the plan, we’ve never met our deductible, and generally do our yearly budget with an extra $7,000 cushion in case someone gets sick. For example:
- When Little Sister was 3 months old she got a bad cold- we were told to go to the ER immediately given her temperature. They said she was fine, our bill was $500.
- When Big Sister recently had Flu B our doctor visit at our regular pediatrician cost us about $200 plus the Tamiflu prescribed which was an other $250 for the generic prescription.
- I recently had a sinus infection and went to a local clinic because I couldn’t afford to see my regular internist that month- I paid $85 for a visit to see a PA i a grocery store, and another $45 for antibiotics.
We live on a pretty darn small budget, and these types of costs can be difficult to absorb without a lot of advance planning. I often am making the difficult decision about whether or not to take myself or my kids to the doctor as I am afraid that I won’t be able to pay for it.
While I am thankful that we have insurance, these costs are ridiculously high. For me, it can be time consuming, difficult and expensive to navigate our health insurance plan. Not to mention stressful- so stressful. I am constantly looking for prescription drug savings. After many years of navigating high deductible insurance, I have some great money saving tips- including prescription drug savings- to share with you.
Tip #1- Ask First!
I gift the book Your Child’s Health to every new mom that I know. It’s a fantastic resource that helps parents navigate the medical issues of parenthood by providing explanation of symptoms and then clear instructions on when to see a doctor. In the issue the the book indicates that I should see a doctor, I also call the doctor’s office or the local hospital and ask for further clarification in our specific case. There have been many times where the triage nurse has said that we do not need to be seen, or that we can be tested at the office without seeing the ped- which is a lower cost office visit.
Tip #2- Use a Prescription Drug Savings Plan
LifeInCheck™ is a new prescription drug plan that allows you to input your prescription and location into their database to find the best price on your medications. LifeInCheck™ is brought to you by Inmar, a data and technology analytics company. Over the past 15 years, Inmar has created relationships with brands and retailers to provide consumers with the lowest price on prescribed medications.
There are over 175 drugs that are free with the plan, plus 40 of the 100 most commonly prescribed medications in the United States are much cheaper with the plan (and that includes mental health drugs!) I just enrolled in a 30 day free trial after learning that ALL of the medications we purchase on a monthly basis would be free with the LifeInCheck™ plan.
WHAT? That’s a savings of almost $40 a month for us, and that doesn’t even include what we will save when on prescriptions that result from unexpected illness. Basically the monthly prescription drug savings more than covers the subscription cost on our recurring medications alone. I signed up here:
I signed up for the 30 day free trial to start– and I didn’t have to put in my payment information, which I loved. I’ll be prompted to enter payment only when my free trial has ended. I wish every company would do this! Please do note that the LifeInCheck™ plan is not A Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or insurance.
Next, I added the image of the card to my phone and printed one for my husband to use at the pharmacy and we were ready to go. There are two prescription drug savings subscription rates for the plan: $14.95/mo $149.95/yr- both cover all member of the household. The second plan basically saves you $30 a year, or is like getting two months free per year. The plan is available to those people with high deductible insurance as well as the uninsured and the underinsured.
Tip #3- Find The Best Price
With high deductible medical insurance, it can be hard to tell which medicines are going to cost more. For example, when we learned of Big Sisters cashew allergy, we knew that we were going to have to spend a lot of money on Epi Pens to have at home and at school. I asked the doctor to send several prescriptions to the pharmacy because I knew that the pricing on that prescription is wonky. Next I called the pharmacy and asked them to do a price check and then to fill the least expensive prescription. That saved me almost $400 in that particular case- that’s a couple of plane tickets! (We love to travel!)
Now, after using LifeInCheck™ I can run the lowest price at nearby pharmacies with the Search Alternative feature on the site. That saves me time at the doctors office and a couple of phone calls at least.
Tip #4- Call Your Insurance Company
In the case that you need to change doctors, visit an ER or Urgent Care, or see a specialist- always always always contact your insurance company first to see where you should go. This can mean jumping online or calling. I remember when my husband had an urgent health issue that needed to be taken care of I called and asked where we should go. The insurance company pinpointed my exact location and my husband’s symptoms. It turned out it was significantly cheaper to go to a particular urgent care clinic that had an x ray machine which we knew he would need. It was only a few blocks from the one we were planning to go to, and would save us an extra trip and payment for the x rays at a second location.
Tip #5- Know Your Pharmacist
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a pharmacy and a pharmacist that you trust. I visit a particular pharmacy because I have developed a rapport with the pharmacists. They have my account flagged as a high deductible account and will look for the best deal on meds for me- and then advocate for me with my doctor if my prescription needs to be modified to save money. They also can check the dosing- when Big Sister had Flu B, our doctor accidentally prescribed twice the medicine that she needed. The pharmacy called me to let me know that they had made the adjustment- saving me over $250.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this- most of us who live on a budget spend time shopping for sales on clothes, clipping coupons to save money at the grocery store, and using Groupon for deals and savings on restaurants. The relative cost of those services is almost nothing in comparison with how much money we spend each year on medical expenses- and we should be looking for prescription drug savings.
Using LifeInCheck™ makes smart financial sense- and it saves me time too! LifeInCheck™ is a great option– and we will be using it at Casa Pura Vida in the future to ensure that we are getting the best prescription drug savings at the over 54,000 pharmacies that work with the program. Please do note that the LifeInCheck™ program is an “Association Member Benefit” and that all enrolling members also agree to enroll in the American Advantage Association at the time of enrollment with LifeInCheck™.