Archive for the ‘Online Shopping Faves’ Category

Is There A Cheap Health Insurance Plan for Your Needs?

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Paying a (relatively) low monthly fee on your health insurance may sound appealing, until you’re faced with emergency fees because your coverage didn’t include certain parts of service that you needed.  If you’re in the market for a new (and affordable) health insurance plan, it’s worthwhile to evaluate your options and do serious research based on what specific needs you have.  The last thing you’d want to do is unknowingly pay for add-ons that you don’t need or want or to find out afterwards that your plan doesn’t cover services you need.  Here are some things to consider when shopping for affordable health insurance for yourself and your family.

  1. Health-InsuranceShop around for the best plans.  The internet can provide you with a list of health insurance options in your specific state.  If you live in New York, for example, you can find a comparison here:  http://www.ins.state.ny.us/health/chlthinf.htm.  And, of course, residents of any state can look for affordable health insurance on sites such as eHealthInsurance which offers health insurance quotes and comparisons similar to the way that Travelocity offers flight quotes.
  2. Get insurance through a group to lower your costs.  It’s no secret that companies, organizations and clubs get better deals on health insurance than individuals.  Some universities, for example, offer group discounts to alumni.  Even though the school won’t pay your premiums as an employer might, you can still benefit from a cheap health insurance plan through a group.
  3. Consider short term options. If you’re planning on (or hoping to) find a job soon, you may be best served by a short term health insurance policy.  You can also consider using a COBRA from your old plan until you find a job that offers health insurance or taking out a plan with no long-term commitment.  You may need to pay more per month for a short term option, but if you think it’s only temporary you’ll still see significant savings.
  4. Know your rights. In most cases, health related expenses aren’t tax deductible unless they exceed 7.5% of your salary.  What many people don’t know, however, is that self-employed individuals can get tax breaks even when their health insurance costs don’t cross this threshold.  Ask an accountant what the rules are in your area so that you can take advantage of these opportunities.
  5. Consider your specific needs. If you see doctors regularly you may want to consider a plan with a higher monthly fee instead of one with a higher co-pay.  This way, you won’t feel stressed every time you think about going to the doctor.  Likewise, if you need special services such as mental health services, you must make sure to inquire whether an affordable health insurance plan covers these expenses (and if so, how much they cover). 
  6. Research the doctors that accept different insurance plans. You should never sign on for a health insurance plan without knowing which doctors accept it.  Not only does this behavior increase the risk that you’ll have to go out of network to get good coverage, but it may prevent you from getting quality care on a regular basis.  If you’re generally healthy get a list of primary care physicians in your area and don’t be afraid to call them for references.  If you need special services check with those doctors as well.

In truth, there may not really be such a thing as ‘affordable’ health insurance for most people anymore.  Even if you don’t see doctors regularly, you’ll likely pay a serious sum of money each month just in case you need medical care.  Still, there are ways to limit the risks and expenses associated with health insurance so that you can enjoy a relatively cheap healthcare plan without compromising on too many services.  The right research for your needs and geographic location can help make this decision painless.

Why I Buy Medicine Online (and You Should Too)

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Ever wait on a really long line at your local pharmacy, wondering why you bothered calling in your order, just to waste time getting it in your hand?  I know I have.  And while I’m on the subject, have you ever gone to a pharmacy to get a prescription, only to end up buying an entire shopping cart filled with hair gels and chocolates?  Again, I’m sad to say that I have.  The good news is that none of these things have happened to me recently, since I started using an online pharmacy and buying all of my regular medicine online.

online-pharmacyIt might sound a bit unconventional to purchase medicine online, especially because it means that you don’t get to chat with your local pharmacist on a regular basis.  And, while I miss that alliance, I’m so happy that I’ve made this shift.  For starters, I get to save lots of money by using an online pharmacy.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that using an online pharmacy lets me get the same medicine for a cheaper price.  In addition, I can also prevent the impulsive buys near the pharmacy checkout.  Of course, it is possible to make impulsive internet purchases, but it’s much easier to resist this urge than the call of shiny bottles in a store.

The convenience of buying medicine online is also worth mentioning.  After all, why trudge out in the heat or snow to get a refill when it can be delivered right to your door?

In case you’re not yet convinced, here are a couple of my favorite places to shop online cheap- for pharmaceuticals and other healthcare items.  PharmacyChecker.com – a great comparison shopping engine that compares online pharmacy prices for a range of medications.

Drugstore.com – there are tons (and I mean TONS) of coupons that you can find online that will give you discounts on your Drugstore.com purchase.  Use these coupons with their already cheap pricing and free shipping on selected orders, and you’ve got a deal that often can’t be beat.

CosmeticBag.com (aka Makeup-Mall.com)- I may not wear lipstick on a regular basis, but my sister swears that if you want to buy cosmetics online, this is the place to be.  While the selection for men is limited mostly to cologne, I must say that the inexpensive prices on name-brand cosmetics almost makes me want to try them out.

Is there another great online pharmacy that I’ve left off my list?  Please let me know!