How To Save Money On Health Care Costs
We’re all eager to find ways to save money, and health care is one area that sucks money away fast. Here are 11 ways that you can save money on health care costs.
1. Request copies of all your tests and medical records, so that you can bring them with you to appointments. Often if you have had a test done recently and can show the results from it, you can avoid having to pay for a similar test to be redone.
2. Ask for discounts: A surprising 61% of people who have asked for a discount on their medical bills were given one, so remember that it never hurts to ask. You could ask for a prompt pay discount if you’re able to pay immediately, or for a discount if you can pay in cash.
3. Educate yourself about average health care costs in your area: Use independent health guides like the Healthcare Blue Book to see what the usual price is of health care products and services in your area. This will give you a benchmark figure that you can then use as a reference when gathering prices at different facilities.
4. Try smaller medical centers instead of big hospitals: If you have to be referred on for a further procedure, ask your primary care physician if there are any smaller outpatient centers which would be suitable for your care. Often smaller centers can provide the same services as big-name hospitals, but for a lower cost.
5. When you’re given a price for a procedure, ask exactly what it includes: It can be very hard to be an informed consumer in the realm of healthcare, because each procedure can include so many different costs. Sometimes the price includes anesthesiologist and facility as well as the surgeon’s fee. Sometimes the price might be for the surgeon’s fee only. Room prices can refer to many different types of room and include different items, so never assume.
6. Ask for alternative treatment options: You may or may not be willing to try a lower-cost, lower-intervention approach before shelling out for something more aggressive and expensive, but you can only make that decision if you know all the options.
7. Price comparison isn’t only for big procedures or ongoing drug costs. Lab tests prices can vary a lot even within the same zip code. You can find out the cost and quality of procedures by consulting the data on a state-sponsored hospital website.
8. Stay healthy: Of course, you can’t control if you’re going to get sick, but it’s important to do all that you can to reduce your need for expensive healthcare, especially as you get older and more at risk for chronic health problems. Eat a healthy balanced diet, get regular exercise, stay up to date on all your shots and keep on top of any existing health conditions by taking medications on time and following your physician’s wellness advice.
9. Take advantage of preventive medicine: Many insurance plans offer discounts on preventive care, or free information and products to help you manage ongoing conditions such as asthma or allergies. Flu shots and other immunizations are usually either free or very low-cost, and so is screening for those health issues that are much more common in older people, so take full advantage of them. Remember: It’s a lot cheaper to prevent disease than to treat disease.
10. Take your insurance company’s list of preferred-providers with you to your primary care physician. This way, if you need a referral, your doctor will be able to recommend the best in-network specialist for you. Similarly, bring your insurance company’s list of included drugs to your appointment, so that your doctor can tell you the cheapest and most effective drug choice for you.
11. Use an FSA account – wisely: An FSA account enables you to use your pre-tax dollars on healthcare costs and thus lower your tax burden, but any money that you haven’t used by the end of the year is forfeit. Be conservative when estimating how much you’ll be spending on healthcare costs in the coming year. If you have any money left when the tax year end approaches, you can spend it on over-the-counter drugs and some toiletries products like contact lens solution.
Saving money on health care costs is great, but be aware that there are still some health care costs you should never try to cut.