Having health insurance that incorporates coverage for prescription medications is extremely important. Unfortunately, not all patients can afford the specific medications that their physicians prescribe, whether it’s a routine medication such as a blood thinner or the occasional antibiotic for an infection.
According to the Robert Johnson Foundation poll and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a majority of Americans report that their insurance coverage doesn’t cover a prescription medication they require to lead a healthy and symptom-free life. The same research indicates that half of these people admit they don’t fill the prescription due to these astronomical costs.
These gaps in coverage are why most people still pay for supplemental insurance policies, despite having a primary insurance coverage plan.
Good health is paramount, but life hardly goes according to plan. Unexpected health issues that arise can wreak havoc on your financial plan if you don’t own a health plan that includes prescription drugs.
Luckily, there are a number of programs like prescription discount cards that you can use to save on your medication. Here are a few steps you can follow to properly supplement your existing health insurance plan.
Figure out when your current coverage ends
The first and most crucial step is to find out the expiration date of your current health insurance policy. This will depend on when you acquired your insurance. It’s always wise to consult your insurance provider because your coverage may not expire at the time you anticipate.
For instance, if you’re changing jobs and have insurance coverage outside your company plan, your coverage will likely lapse at the end of the payment cycle you last paid for. This is easier to follow and control. All you need is to make payments until the last time you need the plan.
However, if you’re losing your health plan from your current job, the expiration date may vary significantly. It might end immediately or extend for a few days following termination or resignation, depending on how your employer’s insurance policy works. It’s best to check with the Human Resourced department to pinpoint the exact end date. You can also consult your health insurance provider for further clarification.
Consider the available options
It’s wise to consider all the available options before landing on a final decision. Different insurance programs vary in price, depending on each person’s specific situation. The level of coverage also varies depending on the coverage plan you choose.
Before you make a decision, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with how each different health plan works. You should also consult the experts regarding a health insurance plan that’ll best supplement your current coverage gap.
Save for medications
Health care costs can be overwhelming without a proper plan. Many families have faced bankruptcy simply because of skyrocketing medical costs. With higher medication prices, cost-sharing, and copayments, as well as higher deductibles, these medical costs can drain the average American’s bank account.
These rising deductibles and medication costs are often cited as the reason many Americans can’t afford their prescription drugs. Living without intaking proper medication can be dangerous, even lethal.
Several studies show that purchasing comprehensive health insurance coverage actually improves patients’ health and overall quality of life. Medication is an integral part of maintaining good health, as they help manage chronic health conditions. While medications are varyingly essential, prescription drugs rank as the most vital.
Some doctors report that some of their patients don’t fill their new prescription after an appointment due to limited financial resources. This not only denies them the care they need but makes them more vulnerable to chronic illness, chronic pain, or long-term symptoms, reiterating the importance of keeping a special medication savings account.
Understand how long you will need health coverage
Once you consider the potential health options and figure out when your existing health plan ends, the next step is to determine how long you’ll need a supplemental health plan to bridge your prescription gap.
Calculating your coverage gap can be easier if you know when your health coverage will be restored. From there, you will compute the period between when your existing coverage expires and when your new plan begins to determine the coverage gap period.
If you’re not aware of your insurance starting time, you may need to acquire permanent insurance coverage. Note that some individuals may need to bridge their coverage gap for a few days when transitioning jobs, while others may require a health plan that lasts a few months while they wait for the end period of their employer’s health benefits.
Short-term health insurance coverage
Short-term health plans are one of the best options to bridge your health prescription gap. An incentive for these plans is that they’re very affordable. However, you should note that they usually don’t cover treatments and services that primary health plans typically would.
For instance, these short-term health insurance plans don’t cover preventative care, maternity care, and preexisting conditions. So, if you intend to enroll for a short-term insurance plan, make sure you understand what’s included and what isn’t to avoid being surprised by unexpected medical bills.
As a bonus, these short-term plans are easier to access, and you can cancel them at any time. You should keep in mind that short-term insurance programs don’t offer minimum essential coverage as provided by the Affordable Care Act.
If you find yourself without health coverage during a job transition, don’t sacrifice your prescription medications in the interest of savings. Abruptly discontinuing the use of prescription medication can have long-term and unpleasant side-effects. Prioritize your health and wellness by bridging the gaps in your existing health insurance policy.