How to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

 

More than 45 million Americans lack health insurance-approximately 15% of the population. Are you one of them? According to Katharine Greider, author of The Big Fix , in 2000, 29% of Americans failed to fill a prescription because they could not afford the prescription. The cost of prescription drugs escalates at four times the rate of inflation. What can the average American do to keep up?
Some patients ask their doctors for free samples-but that only works for so long. Others stretch their medication, taking one pill every other day instead of every day, putting their health at risk. According to a report released by Families USA, the average senior citizen spent $1205 per year on prescription drugs in the year 2000-that’s more than $100 per month, out of pocket. And the costs continue to rise.

For senior citizens on Medicare, government prescription drug reforms help-but also bring increased Medicare premiums and limitations. In 2004 Medicare premiums increased by 17.5%–the largest increase in history-and the new prescription drug coverage for the lowest-income seniors is limited to $600 per year.

And what about people under 65? Middle class families? Children? There are so many gaps in the system. There are some strategies that take the bite out of prescription drug costs, though.

Buy generic. You’ve heard the advice before, and there’s a reason why: it’s worthwhile. Generic drugs have the same drug ingredients as name brand drugs, although they may have different coatings and fillers (which do not affect the drug itself). The average generic drug costs 30-65% less than name brand drugs-a substantial savings for you. Ask your doctor for generics whenever possible.

Buy in bulk. Ask your doctor to write a 90 day supply prescription, and order through the mail. For instance, a prescription for Levoxyl (a common thyroid medication) costs $13.99 for a 30 day supply at a local pharmacy-but only $29.97 for a 90 day supply through a bulk mail-order company such as Drugstore.com. Your savings? $12.00. Some pharmacies offer extra savings for new or transferred prescriptions as well: Drugstore.com gives you $10 off when you bring a new or transferred prescription, upping your savings to $22. And you save your time and gas money going to the pharmacy. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy gives a list of approved mail-order pharmacies that meet state and federal requirements.

Ask for samples. Drug companies FLOOD doctors with samples for new drugs. The average drug company spends $21,000 PER DOCTOR on drug promotion. This includes advertising, free samples, free promotional items, conferences (that are free for physicians to attend) and so on. The pharmaceutical industry spends an incredible amount of money promoting their products. One way that money can trickle down to you is through free samples. It never hurts to ask your doctor for some samples, and many doctors will give you an entire month’s supply.

While high prescription drug costs are here to stay, savvy consumers can work to lower prescription costs and find a way to stay healthy and keep a fat wallet.

For beuaty products, I recommend you also look for FDA approved ones. Like the one my mother is currently using–a vitamin c serum for face which is really effective.

To Design or Not to Design: A Basic Introduction to Web Design

Over the years, I have had occasion to build a number of websites and oversee the development of a few others. Designing and building a website can be extremely simple or unbelievably complicated. As I have never learned certain coding aspects or complicated interactive methodologies, if I need a complex site I will hire a professional with the specific skills I lack. And I know I can find them in digital marketing agencies. However, if you are looking to get into web design or just need to build your own site, here are some pointers that may save you a bit of time and aggravation.

Tools of the Trade
There are tons of tools available for web designers of all levels. The software used to build a website is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle. With all the options that exist, it is imperative to test out a few programs before making a choice. Each one has its own pros and cons, so read up on the options, costs, compatibility, and usability of the programs. Cnet is a good resource for reviews.

Even if the software you use to build sites contains a built-in FTP client for uploading a site or changes, I recommend acquiring a stand-alone client as well. There are some hosting sites that do not play well with software programs and there is nothing worse than discovering this as you try to upload a site on a deadline. CuteFTP, Simple FTP, and FileZilla are some of the more popular FTP clients.

Many websites are designed from template based programs that are integrated into the hosting platform such as Joomla! and WordPress. Pitfalls abound with these templates, so proceed with caution! I have seen too many sites broken beyond repair because an incompatible widget was installed or an update applied incorrectly.

Content, Content, Content
Once the mazes of basic site design and development have been navigated, it is time to move on to what can make or break a website: content. Content is not just the words on the pages, but also the images that are on the site. Web designers must be extremely vigilant that their content is legal and legitimate. Images are where this tends to be the biggest issue.

In an ideal world, every image on a website was created by and for the person or company that controls the website. Since the world is rarely ideal, designers use images acquired elsewhere. Ensuring that any images published on the site are properly paid for and credited is important in avoiding potential legal issues. Plagiarism with text content can also be a concern if it is purchased from an outside source. If there are any questions, I suggest checking an online plagiarism site for verification.

With tenacity and determination (and some good contacts), anyone can be a web designer. Keeping up with new technologies and methodologies will keep you from becoming stale in your design. The items I’ve mentioned here are but a glimpse of the many tools and skills a person needs to build a website. Research your options and pick the ones that meld best with your own way of thinking.