Save Money on Health Care with These Tips
While the debate is raging in the world just how our legislators should go about reforming health care, millions of people have discovered ways to lower their costs without government intervention. Even if a national health plan is eventually enacted, it’ll be several years before everything kicks in, which means that consumers must find ways to save money right now.
Saving money on health care begins and ends with you. The following tips can help you conserve cash, significantly lowering your health expenditures over time:
Get Insured – If you can get insurance through your employer, then take advantage of the company plan. Sure, you’ll have to pay a portion of the costs through payroll deductions, but the cost of obtaining insurance through your employer is usually much lower than what you can get on your own.
Compare Plans – Businesses will sometimes allow employees to choose from several different plans when opting for health insurance coverage. Some methods are best suited for families while others are beneficial for single adults. Likely, you already have a good idea how often you’ll need to use your coverage throughout the year, so only get the amount of coverage you need. Why pay more?
In Network – Your health insurance may offer two options for seeing a physician – in network and out-of-network. When you’re “in network” those doctors, hospitals, clinics, and practitioners approved by the insurance company are included in your insurance plan and at a certain rate with a standard deductible. Many plans will still allow you to see any doctor you want, but you’ll be expected to shoulder a larger portion of those costs for using an “out-of-network” physician. Always try to use “in-network” medical care to hold down your costs.
Negotiate Costs – How come when you buy new tires, get your hair cut, have work done on your car or plan to make any other consumer purchase, prices are prominently posted where you can see them but when it comes to medical services they aren’t? Consumers can do their part to keep health costs down by asking doctors, dentists and other practitioners what the value of their service will be before having a procedure down. Granted, in an emergency, this isn’t usually possible, but for routine care or elective surgery, why not ask the staff what the cost of services to be rendered will be?
Go Generic – Generic prescriptions have gained in importance over the years as consumers, businesses and health insurers look for ways to hold down costs without compromising service. If a generic drug works just as well for you like a brand name drug, then go with the “no name” drug and save. Pharmacies such as Wal-Mart and CVS charge just $4 per month for some prescriptions or $10 for three months. Save hundreds of dollars annually by choosing generics.
Live Healthily – Do your part to ensure that your health is sound. Eat right, get enough sleep, don’t abuse alcohol, stay away from illicit drugs, don’t smoke, get exercise and, if you have a family history of health ailments, keep those under control by visiting your doctor at regular intervals. Take vitamins.
Get Help – Millions of older and sick people rely on a government program such as Medicare and Medicaid to help keep themselves covered. You may be eligible for either program, especially if your income is low or if you’ve reached the age of 65. Other safety nets are available through your city, county or state as well as through church-based institutions. By law, no hospital can turn you away without offering care, but why not find out what your options are instead of relying on emergency services?
The best way to come up with a balance between too much and too little best health care is to establish a physician-patient relationship with a general practitioner. The general practitioner may be a family practice physician or an internist who specializes in internal medicine.
It is essential to visit your doctor while in good health. It enables the doctor to work as a director of wellness and provides a benchmark for interpreting symptoms when they occur.
By managing your health care, you can do your part to ensure that you remain healthy while driving down costs. The costs for best health care are rising at a higher rate than inflation, but with good stewardship on your part, you can save hundreds perhaps thousands of dollars annually.