April 21, 2008

How To Save Big Money on Your Medical Insurance

By Paul Bieber

Here is the easiest money you ever saved. Honest. This week I set up to save $864 annually on medical insurance for my wife and myself. If you work for someone who gives you medical insurance you may save, and if you provide the insurance, you will definitely save.

Here is the simple path to these savings.

This all started last month when I went for my annual physical. Weight and cholesterol both down…the doctor is happy.

Between my wife and myself we take nine prescriptions for a variety of things. None serious, but still recommended by the Doctor. Our medical insurance, provided by my consulting company, covers Elaine and me. We have an average plan, with a drug co-pay of 10/20/40. Which means, we pay $10 for a generic pill, $20 for non-generics, and $40 for the heavy-hitters.

Just after seeing my Doc, I saw a commercial for the $4 drug plan at Wal-Mart. I had seen these commercials before and figured it was just a come-on to get people in the store. But, curiosity prevailed. I went to Wal-Mart’s web site, clicked through to the pharmacy, and they listed almost 400 drugs that were on the $4 program. My jaw dropped. 8 out of 9 of our prescriptions were listed. I pay $150 a month on the deductibles, and the insurance pays hundreds of dollars more each month.

Paying just $4 for a prescription just didn’t seem right. After all prescriptions cost up to hundreds of dollars a month. Now, I paid $72 for all of my prescriptions, with only one (the $40 drug) having to go through insurance. I saved $78 this month, and every month coming up, and my insurance company will save hundreds each month. The biggest savings is yet to come. Last year my insurance company paid over $3000 for our drugs. This year they will pay under $1000 for the one drug that will be submitted to them.

How much would be saved if each person in your company went to Wal-Mart for their prescriptions? When your insurance broker comes to you, and the plan has laid out thousands less in expenses, you can look to lower premiums, or maybe no increase! This is a no-brainer.

To make it easier, I found out that many other reputable companies have the same $4 plans. Target Stores, for one does this in their in-store pharmacy. My local super market chain does it as well.

They undertake this to drive more business to their store. OK, it will work for me.

If you are a provider of insurance, make a few phone calls. Find out who does this in your area. Encourage your employees to go there. If you paid them the $4, and every one went along, you can only guess how much your premium will be lower in a year, but I bet it will get your attention. If you show your employees how to save money, you win again. If you are in a ‘community-rated’ plan, where your individual group’s experience doesn’t change the premium, still encourage your crew to use these discounts. The savings throughout the whole economy will eventually effect all insurance costs!

At the store I went to, they extend this program to pets too! If your pooch or kitty is on a human drug, which is fairly often, they will honor the $4 cost for pet meds as well!!!

I asked the Pharmacist about coverages throughout the country. I was told roughly half of all people take a prescription, with the heavy usage being in the older people. The odds are your medical insurance plan will save, and you will get lower premiums!