August 14, 2021
Retirement should be a time to relax and enjoy what you’ve worked so hard for during your lifetime… It’s not the time to worry about bankruptcy filings or becoming another burden to your family.
For years now, I’ve been sounding the alarm on organizations that don’t have our interests at heart, from the government to Wall Street. You can’t depend on them to save you in retirement, which means you can only depend on yourself.
Today, I’ll tell you exactly how to increase your income by getting back at some of the big guys… Big Pharma.
It’s time to take what’s yours. Don’t just get even… get paid.
Americans spend an obscene amount of money on medications. This one really makes me mad… Instead of spending your hard-earned money on activities you enjoy in your retirement like traveling, you’re forking it over for medications.
About 75% of people 65 and older take a prescription medication. And they likely don’t just take one. According to one study from Oregon State University, as many as 40% of folks over 65 take five or more prescriptions.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Americans spent about $335 billion on prescription medications in 2018. And they project annual spending will increase about 4.8% every year through 2024.
In dollars, it’s steep. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that folks on Medicare spent an average of about $300 a year on prescription drugs. But that’s not everyone. Those with conditions that require special medication – like cancer or rheumatoid arthritis – pay anywhere between $4,000 and $12,000 a year… and these are people who DO have Medicare Part D.
These prices are far too high. That’s why I’ve spent years finding ways to save money on prescriptions. You should never overpay for your medications. And I’ve even found a way to make the pharmaceutical company pay for your pills instead.
Here are my three favorite cost-cutters to help you keep money in your pocket instead of giving it to Big Pharma’s coffers…
Three Cost-Cutters for Your Next Prescription
Cost Cutter No. 1: Want to know the nearest place to buy the cheapest medications? Be sure to visit the website www.goodrx.com. This site identifies the cheapest retailers for your prescriptions and includes coupons for extra savings.
Similarly, www.wellrx.com also shows you the cheapest prescriptions, but does it by zip code so you can find the nearest location for you as well. It should only take a few minutes and immediately you’ll know where the cheapest and closest place is for your medications.
This is my favorite way to save money. I’ve used it before and it makes the process quick and easy.
Cost Cutter No. 2: The best-kept secret of the drug business is that you can get almost any prescription drug in the world for free. Don’t expect to hear this secret from your pharmacist… or even your doctor. But these programs are perfectly legal… and are already being used by thousands of Americans across the country.
Most people don’t take advantage of these freebie programs, simply because they – and their doctors – don’t know the programs exist. Drug companies don’t disclose the exact criteria it takes to qualify, but it’s certainly easier to receive free drugs from a private company than it is to get assistance from the federal government.
First, you can start out with the complete list of free drug programs on the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) website: www.phrma.org.
Another great resource is the website www.pparx.org. There, you can enter the drugs you take and fill out a simple form. The website will tell you which drugs are available for financial assistance and from what company. I highly recommend this site for determining where to find free medication. But if you already know who makes your drug, go directly to that drug company and see if you qualify. You can look up their websites, but these are often confusing. I’d encourage you to call the company directly.
When you call, ask the operator for the “patient-assistance program.” They can help determine your qualifications.
Keep in mind, the companies initiated these programs as assistance for low-income folks who struggle to afford their medications. Each has different criteria for giving free medications. In general, you’ll have to verify your income and medical expenses to apply. And not everyone qualifies.
Cost Cutter No. 3: Until recently, insurance companies and the Medicare system determined the prices you paid for drugs of all kinds. Now, you can set the prices you pay just by talking to your doctor.
You can determine with your doctor if the medication you take can be changed to a so-called “generic” medication. You see, when a pharmaceutical company develops a drug, it’s awarded patents to protect its product for many years. But eventually, those patent protections expire and other companies are free to compete and develop so-called “generic” versions of the same medicine.
In many cases, the generic drugs are just as good at treating what ails you – after all, these are just copy-cat version of the brand-name drugs. And because they are no longer under patent (and therefore other companies can make them), the prices are much lower.
To protect their profits, drug companies often develop “new” (patent-protected) versions of an old drug. Frequently, these newer versions aren’t any better at treating you than the old stuff. For example, doctors prescribe drugs known as statins for heart disease. The No. 1 selling statin is the drug Lipitor. It’s stayed on top since it rolled out in 1996.
But the original statin was called Mevacor, but it went off patent in 2001. If you buy the generic version of Mevacor, you might pay only $4 per month total for it. Ask your doctor if Lipitor is really better for you than Mevacor.
If your doctor is unsure or hesitates, ask him to research the science and get back to you once he can explain the differences – in a way you understand. It’s your health, and it’s your money. Bottom line, many of the drugs you take can be substituted for cheaper generics.
However, it is true that a few drugs have a very narrow “window” of safety and usefulness (the so-called “therapeutic index”). You should discuss this with your doctor, too. If they feel the drugs you take should be brand name drugs because of safety and efficacy (how well the drug works), then by all means don’t switch to the generic.
To know if a generic is a smart, safe option, make sure your doctor can answer these questions:
1) Which of my drugs comes in a generic form? (Your doctor probably won’t know, but you can ask your pharmacist.)
2) What is the effectiveness of the old generic drug in this class of drugs versus the one you currently have me taking?
3) What is the therapeutic index of the drugs I am taking? Is it narrow?
4) What site can I go to online to learn about the safety of the drugs I am taking? The answer is: MedWatch at the Food and Drug Administration’s site.
Now, you may be wondering how to get drugs so cheaply. The answer is a capital “W.” Walmart provides hundreds of drugs (many generics) for only $4 per month… or $10 for a three-month supply. And Walgreens offers many generics for $5 a month or $10 for a three-month supply.
The worst thing you can do is to sit idly by and do nothing. Find out exactly what’s going on in America, why this grocery store billionaire is so concerned about this coming October, and four steps every American should take right now, right here.
One More Cost-Saving Tip: Government Program Slashes Bills 30%
In 2003, the U.S. government created a program that allows people to pay for many over-the-counter (“OTC”) medications and even nutritional supplements with tax-free money. New rules do indicate that for some products, like OTC medications, you need a prescription or letter of medical necessity from your doctor.
The only catch is that you need to have what’s called a Health Care Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) with your employer.
If you’re not retired and don’t yet have an FSA, you should call your human resources department immediately and open one. These special accounts allow you to save 30% and more on your medical costs. The way they work is simple…
Essentially, you have money deducted from your paycheck and placed in a special account. You can contribute as much as $2,750 a year and the money comes out pre-tax. Because it’s pre-tax money, you’re saving whatever percent is your tax rate.
You can spend your money on plenty of medical services. For example, this includes:
|Athletic braces||Dental exams, dentures, implants|
|Blood pressure monitors||Diabetic test strips|
|Compression socks||All prescription medications|
The IRS publishes a list (IRS Pub. 502) specifying the many medical and dental expenses you can cover with an FSA. Go to www.irs.gov and type “502” in the search box to see the list.
The best part is you can your pre-tax dollars for:
- Health insurance premiums
- Amounts paid for long-term care
- Amounts not covered under another health plan
This means almost all of your medical expenses can be paid with pre-tax dollars through your employer’s FSA plan. And by not paying taxes on the money, it’s like getting a great return on your investments without any risk. Here’s how it works:
Medical Expenses – No FSA Account:
- Income of $60,000
- Tax at 22%
- Net Income of $52,800
- Medical Expenses of $3,000
- Net Income = $49,800
Medical Expense with an FSA Account:
- Income of $60,000
- Medical Expenses of $3,000
- Net Income of $57,000 ($60,000-$3,000)
- Tax at 22%
- Net Income = $50,160
This is an immediate income increase of $360. The benefit increases as your income or medical expenses go higher.
There is one catch to these plans: You must use all the money you’ve set aside by year-end. It’s the so-called “use it or lose it” rule. But since you can buy many OTC medications, you can easily use up any money that may be expiring at year-end by stocking up on things like aspirin, Tylenol, and cold medication.
The FSA plans are easy to use. Most plans provide a debit card (just like your bank ATM card) for expenditures. That makes your record-keeping requirements virtually nil. And by federal law, the card also allows you to get an advance on amounts earmarked for the account in the coming year.
Say in January, you agreed to put $2,000 into the account over the coming year, by law your plan sponsor puts up $2,000 immediately. This allows you to take that money out and use it immediately, even though it hasn’t been deducted from your pay yet. And another insider health secret: If you quit or are fired before year-end, you don’t have to pay it back. It’s the law.
With about 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, that’s a lot of folks gearing up for retirement. According to Fidelity Investments, the average 65-year-old couple today can face an average of $275,000 in out-of-pocket health care costs, only about half of which might be covered.
So, find ways to save wherever and whenever you can. These tips are a great way to get started. They can save you hundreds on some of the most expensive items like prescriptions.
Today, Doc is spending millions to publish an important message. Think of it as a final wake-up call… And a final chance to see something really important, which you haven’t yet recognized.
Things are about to get really strange in America – yet most will have no idea what is happening.
Your money, your retirement, your future… everything is at stake.
The incredible thing is, most Americans today have no idea how this looming crisis will change our lives. That’s primarily because, while the signs are piling up all around us, we haven’t seen anything like this in roughly 50 years.
Most folks have watched what’s taken place in our country and around the globe over the past two years…
And most are still going about life, business, investing, and retirement planning… as if nothing unusual has happened to our financial system.
Doc says if you care about your family’s financial future, you must listen to his dire message today.
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Publisher, American Consequences
With Editorial Staff
August 14, 2021