Cutting costs on your medication
General practitioners often claim that patients don't feel they've had value for money from a doctor's visit if they don't get a prescription.
A very effective way of cutting unnecessary prescription costs is to drop the expectation that a doctor must prescribe a drug for every ailment.
That said, medication can be necessary and it would be very unwise to skimp on prescriptions costs no matter how tight your budget.
The Drugs Payment Scheme only kicks in now at €120 a month so any medication costs under that threshold must be paid out of pocket.
Since prices at pharmacies vary it is worth doing some research before you buy. Go to www.checkthelist.ie to see if your drug is covered by the latest price cuts. Shop around. Stephen McMahon of the Irish Patients' Association (IPA) suggests phoning pharmacies in advance if the idea of asking in person about prices is too embarrassing.
If you believe that your local pharmacy is not passing on the price cuts or is over-charging for medicines then contact the IPA (www.irishpatients.ie or call 01 2722555).
Remember too that exercise or activities like yoga or meditation are very effective ways of dealing with stress-related illnesses.
To see if you qualify for a medical card, visit www.medicalcard.ie. For information on the long-term illness scheme, which provides free medication to those suffering certain illness, visit the HSE website at www.hse.ie.