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Are you uninsured or underinsured? Are you concerned about covering rising health care costs amid the novel coronavirus pandemic?

You are not alone. The Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI) recently ran an online survey to which 58% of respondents said that their access to prescription medication has been impacted by COVID-19. Seventy-nine percent of respondents have concerns about getting their prescription medication safely and affordably due to the impacts of COVID-19. Those statistics are supported by similar numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau on “Pandemic Related Problems with Access to Medical Care” and “Current Health Insurance Status.”

Job losses between February and May have resulted in 5.4 million laid-off U.S. workers becoming uninsured, according to an estimate in a new report by Families USA. In Massachusetts alone, 93% of workers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic are now without health insurance. The number of uninsured Americans could be even higher. In 2018, more than 160 million Americans received health insurance through their employer; but in the last few months, unemployment claims exceeded 40 million.

American health care costs are out of control. Families without health insurance can be financially devastated in the event of a medical emergency. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital costs averaged $3,949 per day and each hospital stay cost an average of $15,734. According to data from OECD, the US spent $10,209 on healthcare per person, in 2017. In 2020 the U.S. spent over $358 billion on prescription drugs alone, at an individual cost of over 1,200 per person.

The costs of hospitalization with coronavirus can be anywhere from $42,486 to $74,310 if you are uninsured or if you receive care that’s deemed out-of-network by your insurance company, according to recent analysis by independent nonprofit FAIR Health. Even for people with insurance who are using in-network providers, out-of-pocket costs will be a portion of $21,936 to $38,755, depending on the cost-sharing provisions of their health plan.

These are alarming figures, especially for families with limited budgets or no insurance. Combine these costs with the fact that 60% of all bankruptcies are related to medical expenses, and everyone has a reason to be concerned.

As an advocacy organization of Americans fighting for affordable prescription drugs through personal prescription importation, we are here to help and pleased to offer the following health care saving solutions.

5 Health Care Cost Saving Tips

  1. Save Money on Medicines. … Certified and licensed Canadian pharmacies have a track record of saving Americans 50-80% on safe brand name prescription drugs. In the CPPI annual survey, respondents reported an average savings of $245 per month to access safe pharmaceuticals from online Canadian pharmacies. This is a significant increase from the $196 average savings per month reported in last year’s survey.

  2. Check your insurance options. … There may be ways for you to secure health insurance coverage. Check with your most recent employer on any separation policy coverage. Review benefit coverage options that may be available through your spouse and family members. COBRA is a common option for unemployed health care coverage. Non-profit community health plans also offer a range of coverage that might fit your needs.

  3. Public Health Care Options. … State and federal health exchange plans are available through the Affordable Care Act subsidized marketplace. Medicaid and Medicare are important options to explore. Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Health Resources and Services Administration reimburses medical providers for COVID-19 testing as well as treatment for the uninsured. This program applies to individuals in the United States who do not have another source of health coverage. For uninsured children you can also explore

  4. State Stop Gaps. … Several states’ health exchange plans don’t require a qualifying event, like a job loss or birth of a child, in order to secure coverage. CA, DC, MD, MA, NY & VT residents can still #GetCovered via #COVID19 Special Enrollment Periods!

  5. Take Care of Your Health. … One of the best ways to lower health care costs is to take care of your health. The CDC warns that the best way to prevent COVID-19 illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. They recommend practicing good hygiene, washing your hands frequently, avoiding close contact with other people, wearing a face mask, and cleaning surfaces frequently. If you suffer from a chronic condition, it is important to adhere to medication regimen and maintain a backup supply of medicines. Follow healthy life practices including a safe diet, exercise and avoiding health risks such as smoking.

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