It is no secret that America’s health care system is the most expensive in the world, so it shouldn’t come as much of a shock that of 2,000 people surveyed by Consumer Reports, a whopping 48 percent of those taking prescription medications are forced to make cost-cutting medical sacrifices; 30 percent don’t follow doctors’ prescriptions because of money; 20 percent don’t see their doctor when they’re supposed to; 19 percent never go through with a procedure because of cost; and 13 percent use coupons for generic drugs.
Others have resorted to relying on expired medications. However, while these individuals are just trying to be penny-wise, their actions could prove to be pound-foolish in the long run.
Invest in Your Health for a Solid Return
Young and old, middle class and poor have all taken these measures. Prescription medications are a universal need, and they generally come at a universal cost—expensive. In an economy that seems to only go from bad to worse, the number of people cutting corners with their medications isn’t getting any smaller; according to annual surveys, it’s only growing. In fact, since last year, the percentage of Americans making cuts has grown by 11 percent! However, while it seems that “everyone is doing it,” I don’t suggest that you take this route. Here’s why…
Imagine that you just bought a house. Everything appears to be fine from the outside, but when the inspector comes along, he tells you that your plumbing is bad, and that you should consider getting it fixed—and soon. You think to yourself, “The toilets still flush, the sinks still work and I can run myself a bath just fine. The plumbing can’t be that bad.” So you don’t do anything about it.
A few years later, you notice a leak in the pipes. It’s small. You wrap some duct tape around the cracks and the leaks stop. “Voila,” you say triumphantly, “instant fix!”
Several years after that, a pipe bursts, and your house floods. Everything from your floorboards to your carpet to your furniture is ruined. Soggy duct tape floats on the surface of the wreckage. The words of that plumber all those years ago come back to haunt you…
Now imagine that that house is your body, the plumber is your doctor and the bad plumbing is your illness. The (not-so-) funny thing about many diseases is that, like bad plumbing, you can generally go on accomplishing normal, everyday tasks without any indication that something is wrong; the system’s weaknesses are so subtle that they can only be detected by an expert.
The expert prescribes the recommended treatment—for your own good, mind you—which he expects you to follow. If you listen to the expert and do exactly what he tells you to do, you save yourself a lot of time, trouble, inconvenience, money and stress in the future.
However, if you pick and choose the advice you want to follow, and if you opt for the wrong medications (the duct tape) instead of what’s prescribed, you’ll likely get into trouble sooner or later. You could be looking at some serious, and maybe irreversible, damage that will require extensive work and cost a good chunk of change to fix—that is, if a fix is available by the time you figure out what’s wrong.
Let Us Help
We understand that the cost of health care is high—high enough that many would rather gamble on their health than change their lifestyle. But just like that bad plumbing scenario, putting duct tape over the problem or simply doing nothing at all could end up being more damaging—and more costly—in the long run.
We don’t want you to have to deal with the consequences of poor choices or inaction. But we also understand that sometimes you simply cannot afford the medications you may need. And while Part D prescription drug coverage helps in the beginning, there is no way to avoid “the donut hole,” or major coverage gap, which can put a major hole in your pocket.
Part D prescription drug coverage isn’t your only option, though. There is Medigap coverage, which is designed to specifically cover those expenses NOT covered by Medicare (including prescription drug coverage), and there is also Medicare Advantage. To see what the key differences are, and to decide which is the best option for you, visit our website.
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.