Did you know that 10,000 Americans who were born between 1946 and 1964 – i.e. Baby Boomers – retire each and every day? If you are among that number of recent or soon-to-be retirees, you may be concerned about your finances. Particularly of concern may be the high costs of health care, and how to manage those expenses even during this stage of life, when their health conditions may be increasing or worsening.
Today we’re discussing some clever ways to save on the costs of staying well! We’ll also look at a couple of options for financing a major health crisis, such as a hospitalization.
Become Friendly with Your Pharmacist
Believe it or not, paying out-of-pocket for prescription medication could actually be cheaper than using your insurance. Find out by asking at your pharmacy counter about the out-of-pocket cost of your medications would be, then compare them to your copay. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Most pharmacy assistants won’t do this research on their own. They will just check you out and move on to the next customer. But if you ask, they’ll gladly take the time to help you figure out the least expensive way to pay for your prescriptions.
Other Ways to Cut Prescription Costs
Frugal seniors know that it’s smart to comparison shop. That goes for pharmaceutical drugs as well as for new appliances, a pound of ground beef, or a cruise. Call local pharmacies in your area to inquire about the prices of any pharmaceuticals you take. Supermarket chains even offer free scripts for common medications like antibiotics — hoping that you will make up the difference by purchasing lots of groceries while you’re there.
There Are Programs to Help with Health Care
If you qualify for Medicare, look into a program called Extra Help, as well as one called the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. These can subsidize your medication or even provide them at no cost. Your doctor may also be able to advise you about similar programs that are available for the specific drugs you need. Again, they won’t likely volunteer that information — they are so busy these days, after all — but if you explain that you’re having trouble making ends meet or that you just want to maximize your retirement funds, they’ll sit down with you to work out a financially feasible plan.
What Happens If You Are Hospitalized
Hospitalizations are notoriously (and ridiculously) expensive, and it can be difficult to get your health insurance to cover all the associated costs. That’s if you even have insurance to begin with. So what happens if you are hospitalized and then receive an outrageous bill associated with an inpatient stay or trip to the emergency room?
A medical bill negotiator can be a real asset in this scenario. They are experienced at understanding the complicated billing system, first of all, and at locating mistakes, discrepancies, and unfair charges. They can fight denials that you may have received from your insurance company, and work with the hospital billing department to negotiate discounts and strike deals.
Still having trouble paying your medical bills? While these options might not be as optimal as having the debts wiped out, they are still better than not being able to pay at all.
First, a home equity line of credit or traditional bank loan is an option. This may be the best way to go if your credit is good and you can negotiate a low interest rate.
Another option is cashing in an IRA or 401(k). This may come with some penalties, depending on your age, type of account, and other factors, but there are cases when it might be worthwhile.
If you are over the age of 62, consider a reverse mortgage. You can compare lender reviews here. Lastly, you could also consider liquidating some assets. If you have an RV you don’t use often, a second home, or even a large family home that is too big (and costly) for you to live in, think about selling off some of your property and/or downsizing.
Baby Boomers have always approached life from an unorthodox perspective, and luckily there are more financial options today than ever before. With a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, you’ll be able to stay healthy for the rest of your life, while still having plenty of money to enjoy that life!