(LOS ANGELES – March 12, 2010) – Getting and staying healthy can eat up a good portion of consumers’ budgets, but many people are unaware of how they can save money on health costs. The Automobile Club of Southern California’s AAA Discounts program has several tips to help people (and their pets) save money on medications, working out, and other health-related expenses.
In 2008, out-of-pocket health care costs consumed approximately $3,000 of annual income per household, or about 6 percent of a typical household budget, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “For many Americans, particularly those currently unemployed, managing these costs has never been more important,” said Gail Acebes, Director, AAA Partnership Programs.
Denise Bialek, manager of the Auto Club’s AAA Discounts program, offers the following tips to save money on both over-the-counter and prescription drugs:
- Ask your doctor about generic drugs, which usually cost 20 to 60 percent less than branded drugs. Unfortunately, not all prescription drugs have a generic equivalent, but most all over-the-counter drugs do have a generic version. By law, over-the-counter generic medicines must have the same effect as name-brand drugs, so you don’t need to spend more money to alleviate your symptoms.
- Shop around. Prescription drug prices can vary widely from pharmacy to pharmacy, even within the same chain. A prescription that costs a little over $10 at one pharmacy could go for over $80 at another. Most pharmacies will quote you prices over the phone.
- Use mail order or bulk buying to bring costs down. Often, ordering drugs by mail or buying in large quantities will result in significant savings.
- Maximize use of your insurance. Medical insurance will cover many, but not all drugs. Most insurers have a list of “approved medications” and your doctor’s office can work with your health plan to make sure they are prescribing from that list whenever possible.
AAA members can save an average of 15 percent on brand-name prescriptions and 35 percent on generic prescriptions at more than 60,000 participating pharmacies nationwide, including most major retailers such as CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens, Target Pharmacy, Walmart Pharmacy, and Rite Aid.* For people who do not have prescription coverage, or those taking lifestyle prescription drugs frequently not covered by insurance, the discount can offer substantial savings. Prescriptions for family pets that can be filled at a traditional pharmacy are also included. For more information and to obtain a free AAA Prescription Savings Card visit AAA.com/prescriptions or call 1-866-AAA-SAVE (1-866-222-7283).
AAA also provides discounts on many other health-related items:
- 24-Hour Fitness offers up to 36 percent off monthly dues for new clients with AAA memberships, and will also waive the enrollment and processing fees for AAA members ($128.99 average savings).
- AAA members save 30 percent* on eye exams and if necessary 30 percent* on a complete pair of eyeglasses at LensCrafters, Sears Optical, and Target Optical. There is also a 10%** discount on contacts.
- Books and DVDs on everything from dieting, cooking, fitness and general health are discounted 10 percent to members at AAA.com/barnesandnoble.
- AAA membership will save shoppers 20 percent at Reebok and Rockport Outlet stores, which offer a full line of fitness gear.
- Exercise and fitness equipment, as well as home health care supplies, can be purchased at AAA.com/Sears with a 5 percent discount for AAA members.
- Fitness, dietary supplements and personal care supplies can be purchased at AAA.com/Target with a 10 percent discount for AAA members.
- A good night’s sleep is vital to your health. Sit’n Sleep offers AAA discounts of 10 percent on most regularly priced merchandise.
The AAA Discounts program (Show Your Card & Save) is the largest member discount program in the world offering more than 164,000 locations for savings worldwide including 110,000 retail locations in North America and popular online retailers including Barnes & Noble and Sears.com. Through the program, AAA members save more than 2 billion dollars last year. Visit AAA.com/discounts for a complete list of retailers and offers.
* AAA Prescription Savings is NOT insurance. Discounts are only available at participating pharmacies. Savings may vary by pharmacy, drug strength, dosage, and quantity. Savings are based on actual 2009 drug purchases administered by CVS Caremark for this program. The program administrator may obtain fees or rebates from manufacturers and/or pharmacies based on your prescription drug purchases. These fees or rebates may be retained by the program administrator or shared with you and/or your pharmacy.
** Valid AAA membership required. Discount off tag price. Valid on multiple pairs. Frame and lenses purchase with valid prescription required. Cannot be combined with any other offer, previous purchases, or vision and insurance plans. Some restrictions apply. Some brands excluded. See store for details. Void where prohibited. Valid at participating locations. Eye exams available by Independent Doctors of Optometry at or next to LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical and Target Optical. Doctors in some states are employed by the location. In California, optometrists are not employed by LensCrafters, Sears Optical and Target Optical, which does not provide eye exams. For LensCrafters, eye exams are available from optometrists employed by EYEXAM of California, a licensed vision health care service plan. For Sears Optical and Target Optical, eye exams are available from self-employed doctors who lease space inside the store.