Why Are Prices of Common Generics Soaring?

Continuing Series: Questions from Consumers …

Prescription medications can be exorbitantly expensive—that’s no surprise to anyone. In order to avoid high costs, millions of Americans often use generic alternatives in place of 4889917_xlbrand-name medications. In fact, more than 80% of prescriptions filled are generics. However, a surprising and appalling trend is surfacing: the prices for some common generic medications over the past year and a half have been increasing dramatically — in some cases, by over 500%.

Reports show that nearly 10 percent of generic medications doubled in cost last year, and some prices rose even more sharply. The cost of the popular antibiotic doxycycline rose by 9145% between October 2013 and April 2014. The price of digoxin, a pill commonly prescribed to treat heart issues, has increased 900% in less than two years.

These statistics are so troublesome that a United States Senate panel convened on November 20, 2014 to address the staggering prices among generic medications. 

So, what is going on with these generic drugs?

Some experts blame the rising costs on problems with manufacturing or sourcing ingredients that create issues with the supply of generic medications. Others say there isn’t enough competition in the generic market. The Senate panel is set to investigate these issues. In the meantime, individuals and families are left to deal with the rising prices.

While Congress begins their investigation into these enormous price hikes, we urge you to continue taking your prescription medications and alleviate some of the financial burden using the Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card. It is free and available to anyone, regardless of insurance status. Simply show the pharmacist your card, accepted at nearly 95% of pharmacies in the United States, and start saving up to 75% on your prescriptions.  With this discount card, you’ll be able to offset the price of expensive generics and get back to saving money on your prescriptions. 

By WHBlogger 

1/26/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.
 

What is the Paleo Diet?

One of the most discussed and debated diets is the paleo diet. In 2013 and 2014, it was one of the most searched diets online, with millions of Americans committing themselves to the caveman way of eating. Hamilton Stapell, a historian at SUNY-New Paltz, did a survey in 2013 that estimates between 1-3 million people are paleo, or about 1 percent of the population.

Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet restrictions. 

If you’re considering this diet, here’s a five-part paleo primer with what you should know…

1. How is the paleo diet defined?
In essence, the diet recommends eating foods that are closest to what our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic Era: vegetables, meat, tubers (e.g., potatoes), and fruit. Dairy, sugar additives, grains, and legumes (e.g., beans) are not considered a part of the paleo diet. These foods weren’t introduced until later, when the boom of agriculture happened approximately 10,000 years ago. Some people argue that our bodies have still not yet evolved to digest them properly.

35241063_l

2. What foods should I eat?

  • Any kind of meat, fish, or poultry (preferably from animals that have been fed a grain-free diet)
  • Eggs
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts (excluding peanuts)
  • Natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and flax seed oil 

3. What foods are off-limits?
Many people turn to the paleo diet to cut out foods that cause inflammation or irritation to the digestive system. For example, lentils, beans, peas and peanuts all contain phytates and lectins, which can cause issues for some people. If you fully commit to going paleo, say goodbye to:

  • Dairy products
  • Non-naturally occurring sugars
  • Grains
  • Legumes (pod plants, such as peas)
  • Processed foods
  • Refined vegetable oils
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee

4. What are the pros?
Individuals who are able to stick to the paleo diet for 30 days or more have seen some wonderful benefits as a result. They report losing weight, gaining energy, and feeling great. Many people like the simplicity of the diet and relish the fact that they don’t have to count calories. 
Scientifically speaking, there are no comprehensive studies that tout the benefits of the paleo diet as a whole. There are, however, studies that show the benefits of its main principles: lowering sugar consumption, eating more vegetables, and cutting out processed foods.

5. What are the cons?
The biggest pitfall of the paleo diet is that it’s not scientifically proven to be healthy. Some nutritionists argue that the paleo diet is not fully balanced and limits the diversity of nutrients (including carbohydrates, calcium, and vitamin D) due to the elimination of entire food groups.

Consult your doctor if you think this diet could be right for you. It’s important to remember that balance and moderation are key, and healthy habits are interconnected. Eating better could potentially lower your prescription costs in the long run. To get help affording medications today, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free prescription card works, check out our video.

If you’re interested in learning more about the paleo diet, here are a few recommended articles:

 Biochemist and author Robb Wolf: http://robbwolf.com/
The Weston A. Price Foundation: http://www.westonaprice.org/
Author and fitness professional Mark Sisson: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/#axzz3PNk9W5Qb 
Whole9 and Whole30 (a stricter version of paleo): http://whole9life.com/itstartswithfood/

 By WHBlogger 

1/20/2014 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

 

2015—A Year of Good Health

By Shane Power, President of Watertree Healthbike

Now that trees and decorations are put away, it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. However, by the third week in January, most people have abandoned their resolutions and fallen back into old habits. The most common resolutions include: quitting smoking, increasing exercise and, of course, losing weight.

Anything that improves your overall health and wellbeing is a positive life change. But just because these new healthy habits haven’t caught on by now doesn’t mean they aren’t worth pursuing.

As a former athlete, and someone running a large health and wellness company, I prefer to look at the cycle of good health that each person can undertake now at any time of the year, not just on January 1st. Sometimes small steps towards better health are more effective, and sustainable, than a giant life change.

For example, if weight loss is your goal, begin with a trip to the doctor for a physical. Make sure to rule out any underlying medical issues that could be causing you to gain weight. Then begin to make small changes daily that will pay off immensely in the long run: eating smaller portions, starting your morning with a bike ride or jog or even just taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work can make a difference. A resolution focused on fitness doesn’t mean you need to become a triathlete overnight. It’s the healthy, everyday habits that will help you achieve your goal.

Quitting smoking is another New Year’s resolution that can contribute to a cycle of good health and last a lifetime. More than ever before, physicians can offer medications, in addition to over-the-counter products, which can significantly help your efforts to kick smoking for good.

The New Year is a fantastic opportunity to examine your life and make positive changes. Focus on making 2015 a year of sustained resolutions that get you on track for better health.

For more information on staying healthy, no matter what your resolution may be, please visit:

https://www.watertreehealthcard.com/

http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/guidetoquittingsmoking/index

http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/get-and-stay-fit/p

5 Golden Rules of a Healthy Diet

The summer 2016 Olympics in Rio are an exciting time. Athletes train all year, and in some cases for their entire lives, for one goal: to win the gold. Watching athletes in tip-top shape perform their very best has us feeling motivated to eat healthier and exercise more. Here are our tips that can help you eat healthier while you sit back and enjoy the games. 

Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet restrictions. 

heart-veggies1. Get real

The latest “diets” aren’t really diets at all—they simply focus on eating real food. The main principle of eating real is to reduce or cut out processed foods like frozen chicken nuggets, pizza, deli meats, french fries, donuts, and potato chips. Instead, look for fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and whole grains (foods closest to their natural form).  When you do purchase pre-packaged foods, look for those with the fewest ingredients that you can actually pronounce.

2. Use the right oilscocnut-oil

When it comes to cooking oils, there are two things to know: oils with saturated and trans fats are bad (e.g., vegetable or canola oil), but those with unsaturated fats are good (e.g., olive oil). Here are some other healthy options to try:

  • Tip: Always buy extra-virgin olive oil to get those “bonus” antioxidants known as polyphenols.
  • Avocado oil: Rich in unsaturated fats with a healthy punch of vitamin E. It’s flavor is mild and clean with a hint of nuttiness.  
  • Flax seed oil: It contains beneficial omega-3 fats—some evidence shows it may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
  • Coconut oil: It does contain a large amount of saturated fat, but it has zero cholesterol plus a healthy combination of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, known as “essential fats”. Plus, it’s great for cooking at high temperatures. 

3. Decide if breakfast is right for yousmoothie

For years, experts have touted the importance of eating a well-balanced breakfast to help maintain a healthy weight. Now, some are going back on that statement. Recent research shows that eating breakfast has no significant impact on weight loss. (However, it may impact your energy-levels.) This doesn’t mean the debate is over, but it does take the pressure off of people who simply aren’t hungry at the beginning of the day. 

 4.  Reduce sugar-intake

image sugarThe over-consumption of sugar in 2015 was one for the record books, and 2016 could be even worse. A recent study states that Americans consume nearly three pounds of sugar a week. Food and drinks with added sugar (often high-fructose corn syrup) contribute significantly to weight gain and chronic health conditions such as diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends that men limit added sugar to 37.5 grams per day and women limit their sugars to 25 grams per day.

Keep in mind; a single can of non-diet soda contains around 40 grams of sugar. Avoiding sugary drinks is the first step in reducing your sugar intake and cutting calories.

5. Un-super-size.

In the age of super-sizing, it’s all too easy to misjudge portion sizes. Fortunately, you already have a guide to proper portion sizes—your hand. Here are some tips. (Note: Hand and finger sizes differ from person to person. These are GUIDES only.)
 Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 10.12.48 AM

Remember, healthy habits are connected. Eating better could potentially lower your prescription costs in the long run. To get help affording medications today, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link and have it printed, text-messaged, emailed, or sent via postage—no personal information required. It’s available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free prescription card works, check out our video.

By WHBlogger 
Originally posted: 1/13/2014 
Edited: 8/9/2016

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Which Prescription Coverage Plan Is Right For Me?

Continuing Series: Questions from Consumers…

21953735_lThe best way to begin answering this question is to determine what medications you take on a continual basis. If you have a chronic condition, your prescription list/costs are probably predictable. Using the chart below can help you determine your prescription needs on an annual basis. This information is especially important now that the open enrollment period for health care is coming to a close. If you obtain coverage through an employer, check with your human resources department to get the exact dates of the open enrollment period. If you’re signing up for a plan through the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace, you can enroll or freely make changes to your plan (including your prescription coverage) from now until December 15, 2016.

For those who have insurance or are planning on getting insurance, here are two steps you can take to help answer the question, what prescription coverage plan is right for me?

STEP 1: Make a list of prescription drugs you take regularly to estimate your costs and help you shop for the best health insurance plan.  

You may be surprised to find that selecting a low-cost plan does not always results in saving money. Lower tier plans tend to have a limited list of prescriptions covered and higher copays, which can result in high out-of-pocket expenses that add up quickly. You may conclude that a more expensive plan with lower co-pays and prescription costs is a better, more affordable option. As stated in the Wall Street Journal, “The big change in the last couple years is clearly you can shop for health care and reduce your financial exposure, but you have to be willing to shop,” says John Santa, medical director for Consumer Reports Health. 
Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 6.38.50 PM

STEP 2: No matter what insurance coverage you have, check to see if your medications are still covered.Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 3.17.00 PM

Entering 2017, many brand name and generic drugs were dropped by insurance plans. For a full list of excluded medications and covered alternatives, contact your insurance provider. You may want to consider changing plans if you do discover your medications are now excluded and you have the flexibility to do so.

Also, if you do find one of your medications has been dropped or you’re unsatisfied with the alternative, the Watertree Health prescription discount card may be the answer to your problem—no medications are excluded, brand name or generic. Sometimes, the cost of medicine when using the card is lower than the co-pay. Plus, no medications are excluded from potential savings. Our card is the perfect complement to any plan.

No matter what health insurance plan or prescription coverage plan you choose this year, make sure you have done your homework. Knowing your yearly prescription costs, analyzing your prescription coverage and using your prescription discount card could end up putting hundreds of dollars back into your pocket each year.

To get your free prescription savings card today, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link and have it printed, text-messaged, emailed, or sent via postage—no personal information required. It’s available to everyoneat any time. For more information about how the free prescription card works, check out our video.

To read our previous post on how to lower prescription costs click here.

 Related Articles:

Dilemma over deductibles: Costs crippling middle class

ObamaCare Open Enrollment Period

Officials Question the Rising Costs of Generic Drugs

Lawmakers Look for Ways to Provide Relief for Rising Cost of Generic Drugs

By WHBlogger 

1/6/2014
Edited: 12/15/16 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.