6 Ways to Save Money on Your Health Care
It’s no secret that health care costs are on the rise. But did you know that the price tag has more than doubled since the year 2000? In fact, in 2017, per capita spending was nearly $11,000! Instead of getting stressed out, get the care you need at a price you can afford.
Here are six focus areas to get the most health care bang for your buck.
You’ve heard that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” right? Essentially, it means that spending on gym memberships, nutritious food, a good mattress, or anything else that supports a healthy lifestyle will ultimately cost less than treating an ailment as a result of not having those things. So, go ahead and make sure you eat right, exercise, get adequate rest, and just take care of yourself! When you are sick or hurt, get the problem treated early. Ignoring your current health status is just asking for a more intense and more expensive issue later.
#2: Your Medical Plan
Your health insurance policy plays a big role in determining how much you’ll have to pay for medical care so you need to be sure to choose a plan that’s right for you. High deductible plans are popular because they save you cash upfront on your insurance premiums. However, you’ll have to shell out a pretty penny when you do need care. If you’re generally healthy and have the deductible in the bank, this type of plan could work for you. But if you go to the doctor often and don’t have a lot of savings, you may want to avoid this route.
No matter what plan you choose, though, be sure to select a doctor that is in your network. Out of network care is more expensive. As you weigh your options, carefully review what each plan covers (and what it doesn’t) so you can understand what you’ll be financially responsible for in advance.
Additionally, before you commit to a plan, check to see if you’re eligible for any discounts. If you work for a company, ask your HR department if they offer any wellness incentives. If you’re unemployed or self-employed, you may qualify for a premium subsidy through the Affordable Care Act.
#3: Get Care
When you do need medical attention, there are several ways to keep the price in check:
- For minor issues, consider trying a virtual visit.
- Unless it’s life-threatening, avoid the emergency room.
- If your need isn’t urgent, comparison shop for procedures and medications.
- To keep ahead of any potential issues, go to local health fairs for free screenings.
#4: Work with Your Doctor
Your doctor can help you combat high medical bills. At your next visit:
- Tell them you’re on a budget.
- Have a copy of your medical history on hand. You may be able to avoid repeat tests to save money.
- Ask them if the prescribed procedure is truly necessary and if there are any cheaper alternatives.
- Request prescriptions for generic drugs.
- Inquire about free medicine samples and bulk discounts.
Ask your doctor’s office and pharmacist about their cash price. Believe it or not, it may be cheaper than using your insurance. It also doesn’t hurt to ask about any discount programs they have available. And, even if you can’t get the bill reduced, you may be able to secure a payment plan, giving you a little breathing room.
Pro Tip: Check out these apps to save money on your prescriptions.
#6: Review Your Bills
Medical billing departments make mistakes so be sure to check your bills and insurance statements for accuracy. If you see errors, contest them right away. Additionally, if a claim gets denied, try to appeal the decision. Your attention to detail and perseverance could save you a lot of money!
Depending on your health status and circumstances, health care could be a very large line item on your budget. But don’t sweat it — there are many ways to keep both you and your wallet as healthy as possible.
Tell Charlie: What are your favorite ways to save on health care expenses?