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Staying happy and healthy into your later years costs more than you may think. Trips to the doctor and pharmacy can add up, but it’s nice to know there are ways to save on healthcare costs. Here are a few money-saving routes:

1. Sign up for rewards and perks

Some insurance companies or employers cover the cost of gym memberships, financial advisors, mental health professionals, or wellness experts. Take advantage of these free benefits that could benefit your future health.
Sign up for membership cards for the pharmacies you frequent. Places like CVS and Walgreens offer up coupons for members that can be applied to almost anything in their stores, which can save you a little bit on your healthcare costs.

2. Search for online alternatives

Purchasing health-related items like glasses, hearing aids, or therapy sessions can all be done online in a reliable and affordable fashion. Companies like Warby Parker, Simple Contacts, Talkspace, and Audicus provide a cheaper alternative to brick and mortar healthcare establishments because they cut out the middleman and provide direct results.

3. Purchase generic prescriptions

Oftentimes, the name brand and generic prescriptions are made of the exact same ingredients. Patents prevent pharmaceutical companies from directly copying, but the generic versions are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, and according to the FDA are equally effective. Additionally, shop around for the best prices of your generic medications. Some places like Walmart or Costco may have better deals.

4. Buy in bulk

Signing up for an online bulk prescription service could save time and money in the long run. Express Scripts and Blink Health are examples of discount bulk suppliers who mail large quantities of medications to avoid trips to the pharmacy as well as added costs of individual purchases.

5. Purchase the best insurance for your needs

While the cheapest option is always enticing, it may not be the greatest option. Forbes estimates that 90 percent of employees simply sign up for the same insurance plan year after year, and only 80 percent spend over an hour researching new options. That means a large chunk of insurance subscribers don’t know if they’re getting the best deal. Check to see if your current providers are included in the plan or if you need referrals to see specialists. A higher deductible may also come with a cheaper plan, so read the fine print and find your best option.

6. Sign up for an additional savings account specifically for healthcare

According to the Motley Fool, flexible spending accounts (FSA) and health savings accounts (HSA) are pre-taxed accounts that are used to fund additional health expenses. If you contribute to an FSA or HSA, you can later pull funds for prescription medications, medical equipment, and high deductibles. In the long run, this can save money in taxes and prevent unexpected large bills.

7. Apply for Medicare

For those 65 and older, Medicare acts as an additional form of insurance coverage. Part A is free, but Parts B and D do require paid premiums. Part A covers hospital visits, Part B covers doctors’ visits, and Part D covers prescriptions. If you are eligible and do not already have coverage, Medicare is a great way to lessen costs.

By: Diana Michel

Sources: FDA, Forbes, Motley Fool