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Health dollars & sense: Quit smoking, furnace filter

Want to cut medical expenses without compromising your health? Try the following tips to help keep your costs in check.

Explore free resources to quit smoking

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or go online at for free publications and tips or to talk with someone who can help you plan a program and stay on track.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist about programs that will help pay for nicotine replacement patches or gum. With a doctor’s prescription, you may be eligible for Medicare coverage of cessation counseling and medications. Or try the Partnership for Prescription Assistance at 1-888-4PPA-NOW or for prescription cessation aids.

Change your furnace filter

The same simple step that can save you money on your heating bills can reduce your risk for respiratory infections, eye irritations and allergies—and the consequent treatment costs.

Installing a high-quality filter and changing it regularly will help trap the dust, pollen, mold, dander and smoke particles that aggravate lungs. Look for a high-efficiency pleated filter (which has an electrostatic charge) or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

Change your furnace filter as recommended by the manufacturer, usually every three months.

Find more tips online at the American Lung Association’s