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Medical expenses are a unique pressure on every retiree’s budget. On one hand, you’re spending money on essential medicines and supplies to manage your health. On the other hand, costs for medical expenses are continually rising. The average American retired person spent 41% of their Social Security income on medical expenses in 2013, a number that is projected to rise to 50% by 2030.
Since 25% of married couples and 45% of single seniors rely on Social Security for 90% of their income, lots of people are looking for ways to cut down on medical expenses without skipping treatments, doses, or being in pain and discomfort. One way to control medical expenses in retirement is through medical discount programs that reduce the cost of supplies and prescriptions not covered by Medicare. Yet even there, the fear of getting scammed can cause many to pay full-price rather that put themselves at risk. Here’s what patients need to know about these senior medical discounts and some safe ways to start taking advantage of them.
What Medical Supplies Can Seniors Get Discounts On?
Many medical supplies not covered by Medicare are available at discounted rates for seniors who qualify.
- Durable medical equipment like wheelchairs, hospital beds, or patient stair lifts. These devices are often necessary to preserve quality of life for a senior, but because their primary benefit is connected to lifestyle, they may not be covered by Medicare.
- Prescription drug discounts can be found for both generic and name-brand prescriptions. These discounts may vary by pharmacy, region, or prescription.
- Other daily medical needs, like diabetes testing supplies, adult incontinence supplies, and daily protein or vitamin shakes may be available at a discount to seniors.
- Vision, hearing, and dental needs like eye exams, glasses or contacts, hearing aids, dental checkups, and dentures are offered by many private companies because these needs are not usually covered by Medicare.
If you’re over 65 and need a medical supply or prescription that isn’t covered or completely covered by Medicare, it’s good to look around for a discount, unless time is a critical factor.
Where Can Seniors Get Medical Discounts?
Seniors can find discounts on medical supplies everywhere from their local pharmacy to the Internet.
- Durable medical equipment can be purchased at a discount when you buy used. See if the elder care community resources in your area include trusted resellers of durable medical equipment. Charitable entities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army may have equipment like walkers, canes, and wheelchairs for cheap too. Lastly, if you don’t need the equipment permanently, you may be able to save money by renting.
- Prescription drug discounts for seniors can be earned by registering for free programs through groups like the AARP, your pharmacy of choice, or even those that might be offered by unions or professional organizations.
- Other daily medical needs can stay a priority without breaking the bank when you buy in bulk or take advantage of online discounts. Signing up for an auto-ship feature can lead to even greater savings. This lets you focus less on these needs and more on living well.
- Vision, hearing, and dental care discounts for seniors can be found through elder care resources in certain areas, but many seniors prefer to look for deals direct from the providers themselves. Eye doctors and dentists sometimes give new patients a reduced rate if they are not covered by insurance. Once you know your prescriptions, glasses, contacts, and hearing aids can all be found online at a discount.
Medical Discount Scams
Of course, with the rising cost of healthcare, many people are looking for medical discounts, meaning scammers see an easy target. One study conducted in Washington, D.C. reviewed medical discount card programs and found “discount rates that were not as high as promised…and disenrollment processes that are often complicated and costly because promised refunds did not materialize” among other issues with medical discount cards.
There are also medical discount scams related to durable equipment, when an offer of “free” equipment like back or knee braces inspires seniors to share private information like a Medicaid number over the phone. As you take advantage of vital senior medical supply discounts, ask a trusted loved one to help you do research and get a second opinion about the legitimacy of anything you plan to sign up for.
While these medical supply discounts can save seniors hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year, other expenses may cause those savings to be little more than a drop in the bucket. Did you know you can sell all or a portion of a life insurance policy, even term insurance? This can be an easy and lucrative way to turn a longtime asset like life insurance into the on-hand cash you need for expenses. Visit our online calculator today to see if you qualify, or just reach out to me with any questions.
Larry retired recently due to a chronic illness. Larry’s financial advisor suggested he explore selling his corporate owned term life insurance policy that he no longer needed. Larry sold his one million dollar convertible term policy for $100K.
Life Settlement Advisors