How to Save Money on Necessary Ongoing Medical Supply Needs

Ongoing medical supply needs that are necessary for maintaining health can be quite costly for seniors. Keeping these costs in line is important for seniors who are on a budget or just want to save some money, as these ongoing costs can quickly add up. This article outlines some way that seniors can save money on the medical equipment that they need on an ongoing basis.

Choose Where to Buy

First, there are a few options for purchasing your medical supplies. The main options are a pharmacy, a medical supply store, and online supply web sites. Pharmacies have small selections, and high prices. Medical supply stores have larger selections but the cost is still high. Online medical supply web sites are the cheapest option and have the largest selection. They are cheaper because they can buy in bulk and do not have to pay overhead related to retail stores. For disposable items, monthly or weekly shipments can be set up so there is no hassle in reordering supplies all the time. The down sides to buying online are that your shipments can take a few days to arrive, they can be lost in the mail, and they can be damaged in shipping. This typically does not happen, but it makes sense to keep extras of necessary supplies on hand and order early just to be on the safe side. It may be that some supplies are better purchased online and others are better purchased locally, so do not hesitate to split up your purchase sources when it makes financial or practical sense.

If you decide to buy online, there are a few tips and strategies on how to pick the best site, and how to make your buying experience safe and hassle free. First, remember to compare prices between sites and take into account shipping and handling prices. Some sites may offer cheaper prices but then add handling charges to make up for it. Second, it is a good idea to check out return policies and restocking fees as well. If you accidentally order the wrong item, it is good to know what it will cost you to return it later, or if you will even be able to. The third thing to check with medical supply web sites is to check their reputation. Find a separate site with reviews that are unbiased and do some research. Make sure they are a good business with a customer service department that you can contact if needed. And finally, make sure that the site is a safe one to give your credit card information. Sites should be secure and offer encryption. Check for the Better Business Bureau logo to be sure the site is reputable. To get the cheapest prices available, you can try to order your supplies through your doctor or a licensed medical practitioner. These sites often offer discounts to doctors and doing this can help you take advantage of this discount.

Other Ways to Save

One way to save money on your medical supplies is to get insurance, or if you are 65 or over or have a disability, get on Medicare. Medicare is a government program that helps pay for your medical expenses. After you pay the premium, you typically only have to pay 20 percent of the costs incurred over that amount.

Another way to save money on ongoing medical costs is to insist on generic versions of your prescriptions whenever they are available. Generic versions are usually far cheaper that the name brand medicines and are equally effective as well. Most drugs that have been on the market for a while have a generic version, so do not forget to ask if a generic version exists for your prescribed medications. In addition, some drug companies have assistance programs for those who cannot afford their medications. The process may take a few weeks, so ask your doctor and expect to wait a bit. Make sure to fill out all forms completely and correctly. There also may be some prescription drug assistance plans available from your community or state so make sure to do some research to find all options available to you.

Also, consider used medical supplies. Some medical items such as canes, wheelchairs, hospital beds, and prosthetics can be had for much cheaper if you buy used. So check local medical supply shops for used medical equipment that suits your needs and you may be able to save some money. Obviously, not all supplies are available used, but durable items that have been properly maintained and cleaned are a perfectly legitimate option for those who are looking to save a little money.

So, follow the advice above and you may be able to save significantly over what you are currently paying for your ongoing medical supply needs.

By: Justin Gilmore is a freelance writer in Boise, ID he writes about medical supply topics and senior resources for

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