The $5 Gadget That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars
Economically, times are still tough. And with healthcare being at the top of a long list of concerns about money, anyone taking medication should invest in a small gadget that can literally save you a small fortune every year. The gadget in question…a simple pill splitter.
Recently I changed jobs and with the change came a rise in my healthcare costs, particularly for medication that I have to take. But never one to just accept the change and pay the extra price, I looked at my options.
I wondered…could I just split a higher dose of the medication in half and get 60 days out of a 30-day supply? After all, when I was weaning myself off a medication a few years ago, my doctor instructed me to cut my pills in half. But instead of going down to a lower dosage, I could request a bigger dosage and simply chop it in half. Double the pills, half the price.
The overall cost would be the same as before my insurance costs went up (actually, a tiny bit cheaper) and I’d only have to pick up my meds once every two months.
It couldn’t be that easy, could it?
Well, it turns out it really was that easy for me. I take a medication that can be safely cut in half and therefore it was the perfect option for me (more on that in a second). A medication with a $50 monthly co-pay becomes a $25 co-pay. That adds up to a healthy $300 per year savings. If I’m on this for the rest of my life (I sure hope not) it would save me thousands and thousands of dollars.
But even if it’s just for another 3-4 years, that’s still a savings of at least $1200 on what is basically the same medication. All it takes is a $4.99 pill splitter from your local drug store, or Amazon if you prefer.
If you take more than one medication per year, you can see how the savings start to add up quickly, especially if you have no insurance whatsoever. Some of these drugs cost hundreds of dollars per month, and if you can chop that in half, you’re getting amazing savings.
So, are there any pills you can’t split?
YES. This is a major aspect of pill splitting that you need to be aware of. Some drugs can be split safely with no problems at all (often, the pill will have a small groove down the center to facilitate the splitting process). Others CANNOT be split, as this could cause serious side effects. There are four main types of pills that can’t be spilt safely, as noted by About.com:Health Insurance
Capsules may contain a liquid, powder, or tiny pellets. If the capsule is split, the medication inside may spill and be impossible to divide evenly.
Extended-release, or long-acting medications, have coatings or ingredients that control how fast the drug is released from the pill. Splitting these tablets can destroy substances in the coating. This may result in too much of the drug being released at one time, which may cause dangerous side effects, or too little being released, which may cause your health condition to be poorly controlled.
Enteric-coated pills have a special coating to prevent the release of medication into your stomach. This is designed either to protect your stomach from the drug or to prevent the drug from being destroyed by the acids in your stomach.
Medications that require an exact dose
Some medications require that you get exactly the same dose each time you take it. Even very small deviations can cause problems. Cutting these pills could result in a dose that is too low to be helpful or a dose that is dangerously high. A good example of this is Coumadin (warfarin), a powerful blood thinner, which can cause excessive bleeding if you take too much, or allow blood clots to form if you take too little. Coumadin (warfarin) requires very accurate dosing and even a very slight difference in the cut halves can put you at risk for dangerous bleeding or clotting.
So as you can see, if you don't check with your doctor first about pill-splitting, you could put your health in danger. Please, make an appointment to discuss your options, your GP will almost always be happy to help you save money and stay healthy.
Even the insurance companies are getting in on this, with some now offering co-pay discounts for splitting your meds. That's a saving on top of a saving.
Bottom line, this is a safe and simple way to save yourself big bucks. If you're on a medication right now that can be doubled and split, you'll instantly cut the price of that medication in half. And all it takes a $5 gadget.