When it comes to your health, chances are you will encounter an unexpected expense at some point. Being armed with the best ways to reduce your overall cost of healthcare is important for your finances. In the case that you have a serious injury or medical emergency, it’s invaluable to know where you have bargaining room and where you are stuck with a large fee. Here are the five best ways to save money on healthcare:
Choose the Right Insurance Plan
Picking the right insurance plan is one of the best ways to save yourself money. The plan you purchase should cover your doctor as well as your medications. Keep in mind that lower premiums do not mean it is the most affordable option for you. A lower monthly price tag can be nice, but in the end, it may cost you far more.
For example, typical insurance policies with a low monthly premium will have a higher deductible — costing more out of pocket when you do have to use your coverage. If you are a relatively healthy person, opting for this type of plan can be logical — but keep in mind that if there is a serious emergency, you will end up paying more than you would have if you had a higher monthly premium and lower deductible.
Compare Procedure Prices
Don’t be afraid to shop around for different doctors when you are having a procedure done. If you are having an elective surgery like LASIK, consider your options for saving yourself some money. Sometimes people believe that if a doctor is in-network, they will receive an in-network discount no matter where they end up being seen, but the truth is that “in-network” means that those healthcare providers have already reached an agreement with the insurance company about how much they will pay for their specific services.
Typically, choosing in-network will save you the most money, but it is still vital to compare prices, even among providers on the list. By finding out in advance what different doctors charge for the procedure you need, you can comparison shop for your own healthcare. Using sites like healthcarebluebook.com and FAIRhealthconsumers.org you can find an estimated cost you can expect for the procedure.
Another great way to save money on procedures is to travel for a medical treatment. It’s estimated that 1.4 million Americans in 2017 left the country for medical tourism purposes. On average, traveling outside of the United States for medical treatment can save a person up to 90 percent on costs. However, there are some risks related to medical tourism. For example, you may find it more difficult to communicate with individuals who may not speak English, and you can also run into potentially unsafe surgical practices.
Shop Around for Medication Costs
Medication costs can vary significantly from pharmacy to pharmacy. Before signing up for a healthcare plan, make sure it covers the prescriptions you take regularly. The insurance company should be able to notify you of the monthly prescription costs before you sign up. If your insurance plan limits the prescription medication you can take, search elsewhere for a deal.
Don’t just assume that using your insurance to purchase medications is the best and most cost-effective option. Pharmacists are known to “clawback”, meaning your insurance charges you more than what the pharmacy themselves would. More often than not, a pharmacist will not mention this if they see it. So be sure to ask in advance what the price of the medication is with and without your insurance coverage.
Monitor Pre-Existing Conditions
One of the best ways to save money is to practice preventative care. This means making sure you are taking your medications as prescribed, visiting your doctor for treatments, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Take advantage of preventative (and often free) screenings like vaccines, wellness visits, and mammograms. Treating an already established disease is far more expensive than preventing it in the first place.
Pre-existing health conditions and disorders like GERD can cost a lot to maintain. They are easier to handle, however, the more they are monitored. By maintaining your health while you deal with a chronic or recurrent medical issue, you are more likely to suppress your symptoms enough that they will stop affecting your life as severely.
Check Medical and Insurance Bills for Errors
A poll by Wolters Kluwer revealed that nearly 45 percent of Americans say that they have received an incorrect healthcare bill. Even with a great insurance plan, you could see a bill for a procedure that should have been covered 100 percent. Most of the time this is due to clerical error — like a coding mistake in the billing department — so don’t forget to double-check for problems.
If you see something on your bill that you don’t understand fully-, call and ask questions. Be sure to get the name of the person you talked to on the phone for future reference. It can be easy to assume that your doctor’s office or insurance company always sends accurate medical bills, but if you pay your bills without checking each line at a time, you’re losing money that could stay in your pocket.
By watching out for your health and your finances, you’re bound to save money on care in the long run. And with all the money you save, you can be prepared in the event of a major emergency.
About the Author
Avery-Taylor Phillips is a magnificent freelance writer. You can contact her @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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