I work for a company called Trig. Our goal is to increase benefits and healthcare literacy. It’s that simple. Fortunately, I am one of those people who seldom go to the doctor (knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, etc.). Therefore, this knowledge has personally, rarely been needed (thank goodness!), however, I can pass this information on to those I care about and our hope is that Trig users do the same.
On the way to work this morning (about a 20-minute commute), I received two phone calls. The first was from my son who had just left his doctor’s appointment where he was diagnosed with some kind of eczema that is akin to seasonal allergies and asthma. After berating me for passing down this skin affliction, he then told me that he wasn’t going to fill the prescription that would treat this condition. “Why, I asked?” Apparently the $400 price tag provided him with “sticker shock”.
Since not filling the prescription wasn’t an option for his worry-wart mother, we reviewed the process to see if there was an alternative medication that would be more affordable:
- Check your formulary or see which of your medications are preferred by your insurance provider.
- Check to see if you can reduce your prescription costs.
- Ensure that your pharmacist is communicating with your doctor and vice versa.
- Check your medications for negative interactions to make sure that any current or new prescriptions, or supplement, will not cause adverse reactions with your other medications.
- Keep an up-to-date record of current and past medications.
He hit the jackpot right off the bat with #1. The medication prescribed was not on his formulary, which led to the high price tag. Then, by asking his pharmacist to communicate with his physician a new medication, that was on his formulary, was prescribed. The price of the new medication that would do the trick…$10. Fortunately, that was in his budget. Success!
Download our Healthcare Literacy Guide for tips on getting great care and saving money.
My second phone call during my commute came from my sister. She was going in for her annual physical and didn’t know what questions she should be asking her doctor. I asked her if she had met all her preventive care guidelines as she was facing a big birthday (we will leave that detail out of the story). I was met with silence and then, “what preventive care guidelines”? My simple response, log onto Trig and go to the Preventive Care Reference Guide. In that step by step guide, you will find the following:
- Preventive care guidelines for adults
- Preventive care guidelines specifically for women
- Questions to ask your doctor
Because she is my family member, she gets access to Trig at no cost. At Trig, we believe not just the employee should have access to this information, but the employee’s family as well.
A friend of mine used this analogy recently. When I fly for business, I never know how much the airfare or the hotel cost. However, when I fly for personal travel, you better believe I know the cost of all my expenses. The same could be said for healthcare. It is the only commodity that we use where cost and quality are rarely known or examined. If we are ever to gain control of our complex, healthcare system, this must change.
To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, we are attempting to create the change that we wish to see in healthcare.