pill boxes medication adherence

If your doctor has prescribed a medication for you, you want to be sure you’re getting the most benefit from that drug. Medication adherence is important to get the most benefit from the medications used to treat your condition. The causes of non-adherence, when a patient either accidentally or knowingly does not take medications as prescribed, can be complex. Non-adherence is often the result of cost; patients who simply can’t afford their medications. However, good habits and a good understanding of the medication can also be a big part of adherence, and can help you stick to your medication schedule.

Medication Adherence

World Health Organization defined adherence as “the extent to which a person’s behavior – taking medication, following a diet, and/or executing lifestyle changes, corresponds with agreed recommendations from a health care provider.” The concept that healthcare professionals manage medical conditions is true only in case of hospitalized patients. The bottom line is, medications don’t work in patients who don’t take them, or don’t take them as prescribed.

In an outpatient setting, the healthcare professionals’ role is limited to providing products (medications and/or monitoring devices) and educational tools. Taking medications, on time and properly, is left up to the patient or their in-home caregiver. There are several techniques to help you remember to take your medications as prescribed and manage their own medical condition. As the patient, you have the ultimate control for safe and effective treatment.

Two Steps to Medication Adherence
Adherence to medication can be achieved in two simple steps; understanding and behavior changes. Understanding includes knowledge of your medical condition and how your prescribed medication can help to manage it. Here are a few helpful websites:

  1. http://www.patienteducationcenter.org/ – The health-related content on the website is provided by Harvard Medical School. Medical conditions are listed alphabetically from A to Z.
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ – Produced by the National Library of Medicine, provides reliable information on medical conditions, drugs, herbs, and supplements.
  3. https://www.wellrx.com/ – ScriptSave® WellRx allows you to search for the lowest prices on prescription medications at nearby pharmacies, and provides overviews of the medications. Our Ask a Pharmacist phone line lets you talk to a pharmacist about prescription medicines, dosing, or medication interaction questions. Registered members have access to a free suite of personal wellness tools in the Medicine Chest, including:
  • Ask a Pharmacist
  • Pill Reminders
  • Refill Reminders
  • Medication Information (in both English and Spanish)
  • Medication Videos
  • Mood-tracking (to review side effects, etc.)
  • Price-check and Pharmacy Locator

Behavioral changes mean finding ways to stay on track with your medication schedule. Finding the right tool or a combination of methods that fit best your lifestyle is key to medication adherence. Here are some ways to stay on track:

  1. Integrate your medication to your daily routine, such as brushing your teeth or watching your favorite TV show.
  2. Set one/multiple daily alarm using a clock, mobile phone, or computer.
  3. Ask a family member and/or friend give you a call remainder.
  4. Pill boxes are another way to organize your scheduled medications. Pill boxes are available in different forms that allow you/your caregiver to fill them daily, weekly, or even monthly.
  5. Medication charts can be developed by own or with the help of a healthcare professional. Keep an updated chart with medication names, dose, when you take them, and what are you taking them for. You can refer to the chart if you get confused with your medications.
  6. Plan ahead for medication refills and mark a calendar to make sure you always have your medication when necessary.
  7. If you have a smart phone, the free ScriptSave WellRx app can be used to remind you to take your medications, refill your medications, and track how the medications make you feel.

We hope these tips on medication adherence have helped. Download our free app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store, and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools. If you’re struggling to afford your medications, visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you. You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!


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prescription medications,
visit www.WellRx.com.
Compare prices at more than
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percent opting out of healthcare graph If you’re a ScriptSave® WellRx member, you probably know only too well what it means to face high out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications. We hear this message from members every day and so it didn’t come as a huge surprise when we read details from a Bankrate.com survey.

One quarter of surveyed Americans report that they, or someone in their family, have skipped vital medical care because of the cost. The Bankrate Money Plus Survey also revealed that more than half of those who responded worry about not being able to afford health insurance.

Health Care Anxiety

The survey findings come at a time of rising healthcare costs and huge increases in some health insurance premiums, while increasing insurance deductibles further weigh on the issue. In the survey, 56% say they’re either very or somewhat worried that they might not be able to afford health coverage in the future.

percent concerned about healthcare coverage graph

High-deductible Dilemma – An Expensive Healthcare Punt

High-deductible plans and HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) have been central in the healthcare debate. Such plans hype lower monthly premiums, as compared to traditional insurance. For many, this ends up being little more than an expensive punt (what gets ‘saved’ in premium costs comes back to bite many patients in the form of much higher out-of-pocket expenses when they submit a claim to their insurance provider).

In 2016 the average annual premium for employer-sponsored health insurance was $6,800 for single coverage in a preferred provider organization (PPO), according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

By comparison, the average annual premium for a high-deductible health plan available through an employer was somewhat more affordable. KFF found that to be $5,762. The trade-off for the lower premium is that the consumer is responsible for saving the necessary amount of money needed to meet a higher deductible in the event of illness or requiring medical attention. In theory, under a high-deductible plan, employees can use a tax-advantaged HSA to cover qualified medical costs so these premium savings can be deferred, tax free, in order to meet future medical expenses. However, for many, this simply does not happen.

Saving Where You Can

No matter how the debate on healthcare reform ends up playing out, here are some things a savvy patient might wish to think about now to make the most of their existing insurance benefits:

  • Get an annual checkup: Finding out if you have early underlying health issues earlier in the year and treating them, brings you closer to meeting your deductible before year-end.
  • Consider low-cost health care alternatives: See if your insurance plan grants access to telehealth services. These online virtual doctor visits can be an inexpensive (and faster!) alternative to many minor medical conditions.
  • Know your network: While your Primary Care Provider may be in-network, many specialty physicians and services may not be. You’ll be paying more for care from out-of-network services, and what you pay may not go toward your annual deductible. 
  • Get a free ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings card (or mobile app): For those facing high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, be it due to a gap in insurance or high insurance copays/deductibles, a free download of the ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings card might help. As a patient, the card (or mobile app) won’t cost a penny to use. If it helps, great—enjoy the benefit of a lower-cost medication. If not, then it didn’t cost anything to try. That said, this savings program did yield an average savings rate is 45% (with savings up to 80%*) in 2016, and the ScriptSave WellRx program is contracted with over 62,000 pharmacies, nationwide. You might be surprised to find out you’re eligible for low-cost prescriptions with your ScriptSave WellRx card.

References:

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/07/heres-why-a-quarter-of-american-families-are-skipping-their-doctor-visits.html

http://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/money-pulse-0617/ 


For the best Rx price on medications,
www.WellRx.com.

Compare prescription drug prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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CBO analysis of Congress' Obamacare repeal or replace

It’s a hectic time for anyone trying to predict what will happen to their family’s healthcare costs. Every conceivable think tank, group, association and committee seems to have an opinion about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare), and many ScriptSave WellRx members are wondering (and worrying) about who to believe.

One thing seems to be certain – change is coming. For some, it’ll be well received, while others may be worse for the change.

At ScriptSave, we keep close watch for signs of higher prescriptions prices. Anyone familiar with us, knows that our long-standing mission has been to close the gaps in prescription coverage. We have a 20-year history of working with health plans and pharmacies to provide consumers with discounts on their prescription medications. We choose not to make political statements, but we will insert ourselves into a discussion if we see opportunities to help inform our members.

After reading the much-anticipated Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the Republican Obamacare repeal bill, we wanted to summarize some important conclusions that, if you choose to believe the CBO, might be worth taking note of.

The CBO data suggest that roughly 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026, under the new proposed plan. If the bill is enacted, 14 million more people would be uninsured in 2018 alone.

The nonpartisan CBO also forecasts the GOP plan would cut the deficit by $337 billion over a decade, primarily coming from funding cuts to Medicaid and private insurance subsidies.

An estimated 50 million people were uninsured when Obamacare was enacted in 2010, according to the National Health Interview Survey. This compares to a total of 52 million people who the CBO now estimates would be uninsured by 2026 if the new House bill became law.1

An analysis of the revised Senate amendment of the bill determined that the bill would result in 22 million fewer people with health insurance by 2026, and 15 million fewer just in the next year.5

An Increase on Premiums Through 2020

The CBO analysis of comparative projections, relative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), shows how the Republicans’ Affordable Health Care Act would lead to higher average premiums in the individual market prior to 2020—15% in 2018 and 20% in 2019. The CBO made note that premium changes under the new proposal would differ “significantly” for people of different ages. In particular, the bill would allow insurance companies to charge older customers up to five times more for coverage similar to younger customers.2

Opposition from Healthcare Organizations

Independent of the CBO analysis, the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals commissioned a study of the impact of the bill. Their findings led them to send a letter of opposition to Congress. Their study shows hospitals would be burdened with a loss of $165.8 billion in Medicaid reimbursements by 2026. They further noted “reversal of coverage would represent an unprecedented public health crisis” resulting from the loss of insurance coverage.3

Rising Prescription Drug Costs

The national association, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), also recently completed a study showing the majority of health insurance premiums are going towards the cost of prescription drugs.4

Regardless of how things shake out, ScriptSave will continue to do what we’ve done for the past 20 years—provide options to patients who struggle with non-covered and high deductible prescriptions. For those facing high out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications, a free download of the ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings card may help lower healthcare costs in this area. As a patient, the card (or mobile app) is free to download and free to use. The average savings rate for ScriptSave members is 45% (with many saving up to 80%*), and the ScriptSave WellRx program is contracted with over 62,000 pharmacies, nationwide.

For anyone wondering how it works, we just wrote a blog post on that subject. Learn more in our Honesty 1.01 article (and don’t forget to sign up, regardless of how you voted).


References:

1 https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/costestimate/americanhealthcareact_0.pdf

2 http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/aca/cbo-republican-healthcare-bill-would-cover-millions-fewer-than-aca-but-reduce-federal-deficit

3 http://www.aha.org/content/16/impact-repeal-aca-report.pdf

4 https://ahip.org/health-care-dollar/

https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52849

* Average and up to savings percentages are based on all discounted prescriptions that were run through the ScriptSave WellRx program in 2016. Discount percentages represent savings provided off of pharmacies’ retail prices for consumers who do not have a discount program and pay cash.

 

For the best Rx price on medications, like
Crestor (rosuvastatin),
Celebrex (celecoxib),
ProAir HFA,

visit
www.WellRx.com.

Compare prices at more than
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ScriptSave WellRx - American Heart Month exercise image

On average, someone dies of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) every 40 seconds. That is about 2,200 deaths of CVD each day. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women.February has been designated as American Heart Month to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it — both at home and in the community. It’s a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.

The term “heart disease” is used broadly to describe a number of diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is a condition in which plaque, which is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other things in the blood, builds up inside the coronary arteries which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. If the plaque gets big enough, it can cause a heart attack or even sudden cardiac death.

Heart Disease Across the US

The statistics on the prevalence of CVD are staggering2:

  • 7 million, or 34.0% of US adults are estimated to have hypertension
  • 5 million, or 11.9% of US adults are estimated to have total serum cholesterol levels ≥240 mg/dL
  • 4 million, or 9.1% of US adults are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes
  • Stroke accounted for ≈1 of every 20 deaths in the United States
  • On average, someone in the US has a stroke every 40 seconds. This is about 795,000 new or recurrent stroke each year. On average, someone died of a stroke every 4 minutes.

The way to avoid becoming part of these statistics starts with some basic ideas. If you smoke, stop. If you don’t exercise, then it’s time to start (but talk to your doctor first). Strive for 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each day. And if you’re eating high-fat fried foods, it’s time to give your diet a workout. Even the pharmacy chain, CVS, is making a move to carrying snacks without trans-fats, which have been linked to increases in heart disease, with its branded food products.

Heart Healthy Foods

The American Heart Association has identified foods that meet their certification program requirements. Research shows that eating these foods can lead to fewer heart disease risk factors.3 The Heart-Check mark, the front-of-package icon of the American Heart Association’s Food Certification Program, has been helping shoppers make healthier food choices for more than 20 years. It’s a useful tool for consumers constructing a healthier diet.

Whether you’re grocery shopping or dining out, the Heart-Check mark makes spotting heart-healthy foods simple. Some examples of foods in the Heart-Check Certification Program include4:

 Product  Company
 America’s Choice Roasted Turkey Breast  Smithfield Foods, Inc.
 Boar’s Head Black Forest SmokeMaster
Beechwood Smoked Ham
 Boar’s Head Provisions Company, Inc.
 Simply Orange Original Pulp Free 100% Orange Juice  The Coca-Cola Company
 Darling Clementines  LGS Specialty Sales LTD
 Fresh Sweet Potatoes (US grown, orange flesh varieties)  The United States Sweet Potato Council, Inc.

If you’re planning a grocery store trip, look for the Heart-Check mark and get started on the road to a healthier heart. And take the first important step – talk to your doctor about your risks.

References:

  1. NCHS. Deaths, percent of total deaths, and death rates for the 15 leading causes of death in 10-year age groups, by race and sex: United States, 1999-2013 .
  2. American Heart Association – http://newsroom.heart.org/events/february-is-american-heart-month-5712350
  3. Choosing foods that meet Heart-Check certification requirements linked to better diet quality, study finds http://news.heart.org/choosing-foods-that-meet-heart-check-certification-requirements-linked-to-better-diet-quality-study-finds/
  4. Heart-Check Food Certification Program  http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@fc/documents/downloadable/ucm_474830.pdf

For the best Rx price on Crestor (rosuvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin) and other statins,
or low prices on blood pressure medications,

visit www.WellRx.com.

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Sandra Leal, PharmD - SinfoniaRx

I am pharmacist. I am a patient. I am dedicated to advancing the profession of pharmacy and ultimately ensuring that all patients are taking the optimal drug therapy for their condition(s). As a pharmacist, I am an expert in medication use and my goal is to increase awareness of the impact pharmacists can have on patient outcomes. These outcomes include adherence and education, disease management (chronic and acute), and reduction of hospital readmissions, just to name a few.

One component that every patient faces is the financial impact of medication use and the cost of drugs. A potential solution to help with the cost of prescriptions medications is the ScriptSave® WellRx mobile app (iOS/Android).

The ScriptSave WellRx program provides:

  • A prescription savings card that offers instant savings at the register on both brand name and generic prescription medication. Use the card to save on prescriptions for you and everyone in your household — including your pets.
  • No enrollment fee and no limits on usage.
  • Everyone in your household can use the same card.
  • A pharmacy discount network of 62,000 participating pharmacies across the county including chain and independent retail pharmacies.

The ScriptSave WellRx mobile app makes it convenient to save on prescription medicines.

My blog will encompass aspects of health ranging from the intricate healthcare system, clinical practice guidelines, dissemination of clinical information that patients can follow, features of ScriptSave WellRx application (including Ask a Pharmacist), and connect patients and healthcare professionals to answers.

With this blog, I hope to help you become a savvy prescription drug consumer, so that you can take the medications you need to get better while saving money.

Please note that I am not compensated by pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, or other advertisers for the opinions that I’ll express in this blog.

Always remember, the greatest wealth is your health!

 

Sandra Leal, PharmD, MPH, CDE
Vice President for Innovation | SinfoníaRx

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