Although health insurance is thankfully becoming more readily available, it comes with the cost of higher deductibles. Even if you have learned to think of the money you spend on health care every year as a given, there are several ways you drastically reduce these bills.
Many doctors are willing to shell out a discount on medical bills, especially if you have been a loyal patient. Simply negotiating a discount (politely, of course) can be one of the most powerful ways to save on medical bills.
Know When To Visit Urgent Care
Many people turn to the emergency room for medical conditions simply because they cannot wait until the next available doctor’s appointment. On the other hand, urgent care fits in the middle, and it pays off to take advantage. Urgent care is meant for conditions that are not medical emergencies yet still need to be treated as soon as possible. They provide similar treatment and diagnosis as primary care, they do not require appointments, and they are open at night and on weekends. Their practices are often efficient, which means they are able to charge a lower price.
Emergency rooms are far more expensive than urgent care and visiting them should be reserved medical emergencies. It is more than worth it to pay the extra money treating emergencies such as severe bleeding, choking or difficulty breathing, and broken bones. For non-life-threatening conditions, choosing urgent care can save hundreds of dollars.
Double-Check Your Hospital Bills
Doctor’s offices, labs, and hospitals can, and often do, make mistakes on medical bills. It is always a great idea to check your bills for errors. If you have any concerns about the charges, politely and persistently talk to your doctor about them.
Save on Medications
Not only are generic medications are less expensive, but many insurance plans can charge a higher copay if they spot the name-brand medication on your medical statement. When you are given a prescription, ask your doctor about generic versions. Many medications, such as prenatal vitamins and anti-inflammatory pills can actually be purchased over-the-counter for a much lower price, so it never hurts to ask.
Before you purchase a drug, call various pharmacies to see what they charge for it. If you take a particular prescription drug on a regular basis, call your health insurance provider to find out if they would be able to mail it to you in bulk. Chances are you can buy a large stash of the medication for a much lower price.
Be Prepared for Tax Season
Many employers offer a flexible savings account, which deducts money from your paycheck in order to cover medical expenses before it is taxed. This allows you to lower your taxable income and maximize your savings come tax season.
Be aware that a FSA is ideal for taxpayers who have fairly predictable annual medical costs, as you might give up money in the account that isn’t spent.
Related Post: 5 Simple Steps to a Healthy Savings Account
Compare Procedure Costs
If your doctor recommends a lab test or an MRI, call different hospitals and clinics to compare prices for the same procedure. Chances are, you will find a place with dramatically lower procedure prices, helping you to stay healthy physically and financially while you build the lifestyle you want to live.