If you’re pinching pennies trying to save up for a big trip this summer, the biggest hurdle you face may be rising healthcare costs.

Whether it’s co-pays on supplemental insurance plans, expensive prescriptions, or even everyday medical equipment that has your wallet wincing, healthcare-related items and services are often one of the largest expenditures in a budget.

Don’t miss these 6 smart tips for saving on healthcare costs:

Keep Up with Preventative Screenings

Want to minimize the cost of potentially expensive tests and treatments down the line? Keep up with your preventative screenings and well-checks.

Not only are these often fully covered by insurance, but they empower you to keep track of your health and address any potential issues early on before they develop into more serious conditions.

Depending on your age, you should talk to your doctor about preventative screenings like colonoscopies, bone density scans, hearing tests, mammograms, pap smears, skin checks, and blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes screenings.

Vaccinations for conditions like pneumonia may also be a smart idea. They are little to no cost upfront with the potential to save you from serious infection – and added healthcare spending – in the future.

Borrow Don’t Buy

Are you in temporary need of durable medical equipment like a cane, knee scooter, or even a bedside commode?

While an order from a doctor can help you acquire the necessary equipment from DME companies in your area, insurance may not always fully cover the cost and the process can often be long and painstaking.

You may want to look at local lending programs in your area instead.

Often sponsored by local councils on aging or even some faith ministries, lending programs – or lending libraries – allow community members to borrow gently-used equipment they need free of charge and return it when they no longer need it.

Consider a Loyalty Card

If you fill prescriptions or buy common healthcare items – like allergy medicine and vitamins – at a local drug store like Walgreens or CVS, look into their loyalty program to see if the savings could benefit you.

Not only do you often get discounted prices on select items, but you can accrue points for special rewards like $5 off a shopping trip.

These types of loyalty programs also offer apps you can download on your smartphone or another mobile device that help you keep track of your rewards, coupons, prescriptions, refills, etc. – no more losing out on deals because you “forgot the coupon at home”!

Take Advantage of Discounts

While getting older may not always feel like the free-wheeling joy ride you want it to be, there is something about the perks that come with aging which can help boost your spirits.

Knowing where the best deals are for older adults gives you the upper hand in saving more money on everything – from restaurants to medical supplies to travel, auto services, entertainment, haircuts, you name it!

Take advantage of your age and score discounts on items and services you already use. Funnel your savings into smart ways to help fund your next big trip or upgrade your home to make it safer as you age.

Ask Your Doctor for Free Samples

Getting free samples at your doctor’s office could be your best cost-cutter yet, and people do it all the time! For expensive medicines that require bigger co-pays on your part, like steroid inhalers for COPD for example, it is worth asking your doctor’s office if there are free samples you can have.

Oftentimes, pharmaceutical companies deliver loads of free samples to doctor’s offices so they can give them out when prescribing a brand new medication to a patient.

Even if you forget to ask at your appointment, call up the office and ask them to make the request of your doctor – or even ask if there are manufacturer’s coupons available. Who knows, they could have samples of just what you are looking for and invite you to pick them up.

It’s legal, free, and helps you better adhere to your medicine schedule to keep your health on track.

Get a Prescription

Did you know that some over-the-counter drugs are also available in prescription form? For example, if you take a daily allergy pill like Zyrtec or Claritin, you may be able to ask your doctor to write a prescription for it instead so insurance covers some of the cost.

Instead of shelling out $20+ for a bottle you snag in the aisle, you can pick your supply up at the pharmacy for a fraction of the cost.

What suggestions can you make for saving money on your prescriptions? What other ways have you found that help you save money on health care? Please join the conversation and share your wisdom with the community.

Jessica HeggJessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living a healthy lifestyle. Through her writing, she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others. You can find her on Twitter @Jessica_Hegg.

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