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Saving Money on Medications

From Andrew Rafal Strategy Financial group

Did you know that you may not be getting the lowest price available for prescription drugs purchased at your local pharmacy? Even when Medicare or health insurance covers part of your prescription costs, it can be worth shopping around for lower prices when you know where to look. 

If you'd rather not run around town comparison shopping, keep a few drug stores on speed dial so you can call to check out pricing whenever you get a new prescription. You may be surprised to learn that prices can vary widely among pharmacies depending on whether they purchase drugs from a wholesaler or buy directly from the manufacturer.6 

Be sure to check with larger-volume stores like Walmart and Target, as well as your larger supermarket chains. These stores may offer a lower cost per dose when you buy larger quantities, so be sure to request the price of brand name and generic drugs in both 30- and 90-day supplies when you call around. You can break down the prices to the cost per pill at each merchant in order to determine the best price. Thanks to large volume purchase agreements, some of the bigger chains offer generic versions for as little as $4 and $10. Also ask pharmacies if they offer a discount card or a membership program. Some feature loyalty rewards programs that can net you 10 percent to 25 percent in savings.7 

Another option is to go right to the source - call the drug manufacturer. Many pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly and Pfizer offer prescription assistance programs for free medications, or coupons for discounts (note that these programs have income and eligibility requirements). If you or someone you know meets low income requirements, there are also nonprofit referral services available, including NeedyMeds (800-503-6897) and the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (888-477-2669).8 

Many states provide an online prescription drug finder program usually sponsored by the state attorney general's office, such as Florida and Michigan. Plenty of other third-party comparison websites also offer this same service, such as WeRx and Lowestmed. These sites feature easy-to-use search databases in which you input the drug name and your location to receive current prices charged at various pharmacies near you.9

*This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any tax, legal or investment advice or provide the basis for any financial decisions. Consult with your own tax advisor or attorney about your individual situation. 

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies that include the use of insurance products. 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. It is given for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual's situation. 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

1 The Wall Street Journal, Number of the Week: Only Best Credit Scores
Get Mortgages, March 22, 2014;http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/03/22/number-of-the-week-only-best-credit-scores-getting-mortgages.
2 Knowledge@Wharton, Propping up the American Dream: Housing
Reform Proposals Are on the Rise, April 28, 2014;http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/
article/propping-american-dream-housing-reform-proposals-rise
.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
6 Harvard Health Publications, "Save Money on Your Prescriptions Medications," February 2014;http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/
2014/February/save-money-on-your-prescription-medications
.
7 Consumer Reports, Comparison Shopping: Getting the Best Price on Your Drugs, accessed on May 7, 2014 athttps://www.consumerreports.org/health/resources/
pdf/best-buy-drugs/money-saving-guides/english/BestPrice-FINAL.pdf
.
8 Harvard Health Publications, "Save Money on Your Prescriptions Medications," February 2014;http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/
2014/February/save-money-on-your-prescription-medications
.
9 Ibid.
10 The Wall Street Journal, Four Estate Planning Documents Everyone Should Have, April 20, 2014;http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304572204
579503983567868234
.

Five hearing tech announcements that could benefit older adultsPosted: 12 Sep 2016 07:20 AM PDTHearing technology advances -- the hearing aid industry considers changing. It’s a positive when you see disruption of industries that have too tight a lock on the consumer, whether it is in categories of health insurancetelecom carriers or hearing aids.  You spend time with people everywhere you go – those with significant hearing loss but no hearing aids; they have hearing aids, but hate to wear them.  According to a recent NY Times article, two-thirds of adults over 70, but only 15-30% of those wear them – and at $5000 a pair, no wonder. In recent years, personal sound amplification products(PSAPs) that are not classified as hearing aids and thus do not require the audiologist role, though the FDA may change that. Just asking, if the device is called a 'Wearable,' does Silicon Valley find it more worthy of funding?  But anyway. In July, Consumer Reports published an explanatory guide that should be required reading for organizations that serve older adults. It would seem to be the wild west of innovation.  Here is a sampling of five recent product announcements:ReSound. The firm "introduced a new model to the award-winning ReSound LiNX2™ family: the world's only mini behind-the-ear (BTE) model to feature Made for iPhone. In addition, the mini BTE also features telecoil capabilities. ReSound LiNX2 is the world’s first internet-connected hearing aid, connecting to the internet to locate misplaced hearing aids. This new model enhances the award-winning ReSound Smart Hearing portfolio, giving users even more choices to meet individual preferences and hearing loss needs." Learn more at Resound.Oticon. 

"Technological limitations of current hearing aids have led to the use of tunnel directionality: Speech coming from the front is clear, whereas the rest of the sound environment is suppressed. This results in a limited, narrowed and artificial listening experience. With new, groundbreaking technology, Oticon Opn™ is fast and precise enough to analyse and follow the soundscape and differentiate between sounds. Even in complex listening environments, this allows Oticon Opn™ to constantly open up and balance individual sounds to deliver a rich and meaningful soundscape, empowering the brain to choose on which sounds to focus." Learn more at Oticon.
Eargo. 

Silicon Valley based startup that "offers an entry-level rechargeable hearing aid (FDA class I medical device) that it sells directly to consumers. Eargo is a near-invisible in-the-canal device offering four volume settings. Developed by a French ENT, it features patented silicone “flexi-fibers” that enable the device to sit comfortably deep in the ear canal while letting air and natural sound flow freely to the eardrum. At $1,980 per pair, the Eargo hearing aids are more expensive than many of the new off-the shelf “hearables” (classified as personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, by the FDA), but less expensive than the higher end hearing aids fitted by audiologists." Learn more at HearingTracker.com.

Cochlear.
 "Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, announces today it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its newest innovative hearing loss solution, Kanso. The Kanso Sound Processor provides a distinct new way for cochlear implant users to hear. Unlike most hearing aids and current cochlear implant sound processors that are worn on the ear, Kanso is a small, off-the-ear hearing device  that provides a more discreet hearing solution and delivers the same hearing experience as a behind-the-ear sound processor." Learn more at Cochlear.

iHearMedical.
 "iHear® Medical announced today the launch of the world’s first online hearing solutions platform. The company begins taking orders today for its flagship invisible iHEARHD® hearing aid, and the iHearTest™, which recently received landmark FDA approval as the first and only home hearing screener. Delivery of iHear products starts July 15, 2016. The company also plans to launch the iHEARMAX™, a mini behind-the-ear hearing device, on August 15, 2016. iHear’s products are currently being offered in the U.S., with plans to introduce them in China and other markets in 2017." Learn more at iHearMedical.