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SmartMoney Podcast: ‘My Prescription Costs Are Wrecking My Budget. What Can I Do?’

Personal Finance
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Welcome to NerdWallet’s SmartMoney podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions — in 15 minutes or less. Click the video above to check out this episode.

This week’s question is from Paloma K. She says: “I pay $1,000 for my insulin every month, and it’s eating up my budget. What advice do you have for people managing the costs of chronic medical conditions?”

Our tips:

For high prescription costs, see if your insurer can reduce your costs. Call up your insurer to see if they can cover more of your medical costs through what’s called a “formulary exemption.” To do this, you may need to get your doctor involved by writing a letter to your insurer stating your absolute need for the medicine.

Look into establishing medical accounts to manage costs and save on taxes. You have two primary options here: Health savings accounts (HSA), which are available through high-deductible insurance plans, or a flexible spending account (FSA), which some employers offer. Both can help you manage out-of-pocket medical expenses and save on taxes.

To get an understanding of your medical costs, check out this worksheet from the Affordable Insulin Project.

Shop around for your prescription medicines. Resources like GoodRx can help you compare and find the best price on your medicine.

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More about medical bills on NerdWallet

6 options for paying your medical bills

How to tell if an HSA is just what the doctor ordered

Cheap prescription costs: How to save at the pharmacy

How to deal with medical bills on your credit report

Have a money question? Text or call us at 901-730-6373. Or you can email us at [email protected].