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10 ways to protect your self from bankruptcy caused by prolonged illness.

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Accidents and prolonged sickness can be a drain both emotionally as well as financially. Sometimes money crunch is caused by the inability to hold a job, or when the medical bills escalate and it becomes increasingly difficult to balance expenses.

Further, medical insurance may prove insufficient or will not cover long term medications. Life has become such that one needs to think about and plan for any eventuality.

Experts recommend the following:

1. Ask your doctor for samples of medication.

2. Often an older drug is effective and cheaper. Request the doctor to write a prescription for a drug that is more affordable. According to studies you can save up to 75% this way.

3. Find out the generic name of the medication and choose to purchase it instead of branded medication ---the saving can amount to as much as 70%.

4. Very often companies sell higher dosages of medication for a marginally higher cost. Be prudent, buy the higher dosage and spilt the medication in
half, one-third, or quarters. The savings you can make are almost 50 %.

5. Order 90-day supplies in bulk from discount mail order pharmacies or online services. The savings are considerable and many doctors help long term patients reduce costs by putting the patients in touch with distributors.

6. If a particular medication is very expensive ask the doctor to recommend a substitute. This is known as therapeutic substitution.

7. Do try comparison shopping. You will find that the same medication is priced differently in local pharmacies, online outlets, and chain stores. Online pharmacies like http://www.walgreens.com/, www.costco.com , or http://www.drugstore.com/ offer medications at affordable prices.

8. There are several patient-assistance programs that offer free or discounted medication to those who cannot afford long term illness. Companies like Merck have programs that benefit uninsured patients. Medicines are given at discounts of 10-40%.

9. If you or a family member travels frequently you could buy your medicines abroad. Often the same medicine manufactured by the same company is much cheaper overseas. One can also order medicine by mail from Canada where medicines cost 30-50% less than the US. But do check the laws before you attempt this.

10. Start a health saving account where you can save pre tax dollars towards unforeseen medical expenses. This has a high deductible. Find out if you or other family members are eligible.

Use an insurance broker who always thinks of you. He must keep you updated on all new developments as far as health schemes are concerned and make sure you reap all the benefits of the insurance scheme. You could also consider a critical illness policy in addition to a regular health insurance.


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