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Money Saving Tips & Tricks

By Karen Tsui, Shanon McQuitty, and Kelly English

 

Living with a disease like arthritis is difficult, and constant worrying about finances can make it even worse. Read on for some simple ideas on how to keep costs and worry down.  

 

Pharmacy costs:

 

– Before leaving a job where you have medical or dental benefits, look into conversion plans. They allow your pre-existing chronic illness to be covered for things like prescriptions and physiotherapy.

– Keep copies of your Pharmacare Special Authority forms for medications (read about this here). Make sure you re-apply before they expire so you don’t get caught paying for things that should be covered. 

– When a doctor gives you a new prescription, make sure they know if you are uninsured, because sometimes a generic is available.

– Always ask if there is a patient program that might help you out if you need it. Many of the drug companies will help, especially with the more expensive biologic medications.

– If you are in B.C. and considered low income, apply for MSP Premium Assistance to help cover some of the cost of health services like physiotherapy or massage therapy. Find out more here.

– If you are in B.C., make sure you’re also signed up for Fair PharmaCare. PharmaCare helps B.C. residents with the cost of eligible prescription drugs, certain medical supplies, and pharmacy services. Read more here. Also your deductible amount can sometimes be divided by 12 months instead of all coming out in January and February.  

 

Taxes:

 

– Don’t forget to save all medical receipts. This includes things like dental, physiotherapy, and medical equipment, and also things you might not think of, like travel expenses for attending a doctor out of town. Check out the Canada Revenue Services page here to see all the allowable deductions.

– If your disease causes you to take a long time to dress, if you cannot walk very far, or if it affects cognitive function, you might qualify for the Disability Tax Credit with the Federal Government. See here for more information.

– If you need a lift for a mobility scooter or wheelchair, some car manufacturers will give a rebate on the cost of installing it.  

 

Extras:

 

– Look into training schools for medical services if you have little or no coverage. Dental Hygiene Schools will sometimes perform dental work for little or no charge, as well as Holistic Medicine schools with trainees learning massage therapy and acupuncture. A resource in Vancouver, BC for acupuncture is POKE. The cost is on a sliding scale. Read more at https://pokecommunityacupuncture.ca/about-community-acupuncture/

– Many recreation centers have reduced costs on programs for people who need it. – Find out if there is a publicly (government) funded rehabilitation clinic near you for arthritis.

– If you need equipment or aids for your arthritis, look on Craigslist or Kijiji for second hand items.

– Think about participating in a study. For example, Arthritis Research Canada has some studies on fitness that match you to a physiotherapist for a couple of quick sessions to help you set goals.

– Don’t forget to ask your employer for help if you need something ergonomically correct such as a chair or standing computer desk if it will aid you in your job.

– If you need assistance with house repairs to accommodate your disability or need help with property taxes, there are many programs available through your municipalities and government. Read more here.  

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