WITH THE OPEN enrollment period for
workplace health benefits soon coming to a
close, this is a good time to look at ways to save
money on health care costs. Here are three
options to consider for 2017.
• Now is the time to consider opening a tax-free health savings account (HSA) and high-deductible health plan (HDHP). “HSA plans give
consumers incentives to manage their own health
care costs by coupling a tax-favored savings account
used to pay medical expenses with an HDHP that
meets certain requirements for deductibles and out-of-pocket expense limits,” according to America’s
Health Insurance Plans (AHIP;
national trade association representing the
health insurance industry. A
2015 AHIP census reported
U.S. enrollment in HSA/
HDHPs totaled approximately
19. 7 million people in January
2015, a 22 percent increase from
the previous year.
While HSAs and HDHPs can
help reduce monthly premiums, these
plans generally require members to pay
more for co-pays, office visits and deductibles; in
response, enrollees are becoming better shoppers
when it comes to out-of-pocket expenses.
• For savings on the cost of medicines, Costco
pharmacies, routinely recognized by a leading consumer magazine as being among the least expensive places to fill prescriptions across the nation,
can help you stretch your health care dollars.
Costco’s full-service pharmacies accept virtually
any insurance plan, and Costco’s licensed pharmacists are highly trained to help you evaluate your
options. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have
to buy your prescription medications in bulk at
Costco; the pharmacies are able to fill small-dosage
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
prescriptions, and they carry a list of generics at significant savings compared with brand names.
Costco pharmacies accept prescriptions via
electronic communication. They also offer additional services, such as immunizations and clinics
for cardiovascular risk, bone density and diabetes.
• Last, members without insurance should look
into the Costco Health Insurance Marketplace,
which helps consumers and business owners in
most states understand health insurance options
available to them. For more information, visit
Costco.com and search “My Insurance Marketplace.”
for health care
Know your risk
MORE THAN 29 million adults in
the United States have diabetes
and a quarter of them do not
know it, according to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC;
Diabetes is a disease in
which blood glucose levels are
above normal. This happens
because the body doesn’t make
enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes)
or can’t use insulin well enough
to get glucose into the cells
(Type 2 diabetes).
The most common type of
diabetes is Type 2, which
accounts for 90 to 95 percent of
all cases. There are several risk
factors for developing Type 2
diabetes, including obesity, older
age, having a family history of
Type 2, being inactive and having
elevated blood sugar.
Certain ethnicities are also
at a higher risk of developing
Type 2 diabetes. These include
African-Americans, Hispanic or
Latino Americans, some Asian-Americans or Pacific Islanders,
and Native Americans.
Long-term complications of
diabetes include heart disease,
blindness, kidney failure and the
need for amputations, according
to the CDC. People with diabetes
could also experience frequent
urination, extreme thirst, fatigue,
sudden vision changes or tingling or numbness in the hands
or feet. If you have any risk factors or symptoms, talk to a
health care provider about getting screened for diabetes.
Lifestyle changes, such as
eating healthfully, maintaining a
healthy weight and exercising
regularly can delay or reduce
your risk of developing diabetes.
Costco pharmacies offer
regularly scheduled diabetes
screenings. To see the schedule,
go to Costco.com and search
To learn more about Costco Pharmacy, click on the “Pharmacy” link
at Costco.com or visit your local Costco pharmacist.