These health care tips are some ways you can be smart about how to spend your dollars on medical goods and services. With or without health insurance, medical care is expensive. Period. Here are ten strategies to save money on medical expenses and help to counteract rising health care costs.
If you’re visiting your doctor’s office for a sinus infection or just for a general checkup and your doctor recommends a new medication or a specific antibiotic, consider asking for a sample. If this is going be a daily maintenance medication it would be much more economical to try it out first to make sure it takes well before committing to a multi-month’s supply.
2. Shop Online
If you’re in the market for contact lenses or glasses, you know you’re in for a hefty medical bill. Eyewear is one of those things you can usually find cheaper online, but it’s hard to buy glasses without trying them on first. Spend as much time as you want at a brick-and-mortar retailer trying on glasses, making notes of the brand and models you like, and then compare them online. Search eBay or sites like aclens.com where you may save at least 30 percent on eyewear. Or even try your contacts manufacturer sites for great Web deals and remember to always look for coupon codes or promo codes online before making any purchase to save even more money.
3. Get on the Discount Bandwagon
Sign up for as many discount cards or rewards programs as possible. The email and snail mail that piles up may get annoying but if you pay close attention, you can monitor your boxes for the best deals that pertain to your specific medical needs. Even check into insurance company programs; Aetna offers up to 50 percent off eye exams and between 15 and 50 percent on dental care for certain healthcare plans with a one-time sign up cost and low monthly fee. You always have the responsibility, however, to check out these programs before enrolling. Visit your state insurance commission to look into the legitimacy and reviews of some of these plans, and other health care tips.
4. Never Ditch Your Coverage
Even if you lose or change jobs make sure to take advantage of your COBRA insurance options to avoid paying an exorbitant amount if an emergency medical situation arises. The worst thing you can do is getting caught without coverage. COBRA can be expensive (more than 100 percent higher than an average policy) but it’s more wallet-conscious than taking out a private insurance plan or, worse, paying everything out of pocket. Keep in mind, too, that an employer can’t deny your coverage because of a pre-existing condition if you never drop your coverage completely.
5. Prioritize the Kids
State programs offer health care tips and insurance policies for children who live in households with low income. Thresholds will vary from state to state, but kids tend to be more likely to need medical and health care attention so getting them under some sort of coverage could benefit you later on. Visit insurekidsnow.gov for more information.
6. Stay in Shape
Sounds simple enough right? You may be surprised to know that women who are overweight have annual medical costs that reach close to 70 percent more than average weight women, according to the American Journal of Health Promotion. One of the best health care tips is to eat healthy and maintain a regular exercise program, even if it’s just 20 minutes a day. This will go a long way to helping you avoid medical expenses and exercising makes you feel better about yourself. Some employers are now even charging higher insurance rates for smokers and will test plan members to keep them honest.
7. Ask for Help from a Professional
If, by chance, you find yourself in a serious medical debt situation there are medical billing professionals who can help you find your way out in the most timely and financially considerate way possible. Medical billing advocates act as a buffer between the insurance companies and yourself as you recuperate from illness or surgery. They charge by the hour and may take a percentage of the debt that’s collected, but they can save you in the long run. Check out the Medical Billing Advocates of America for more information.
8. Try a School
Sometimes what you pay for dental insurance from your employer isn’t worth the coverage you receive. In that case you’re better off paying out of pocket, and you’ll get the most bang for your buck at a dentistry school. You’ll typically be seen by a third- or fourth-year student and a cleaning could range between $50 and $60, as opposed to the $75 to $100 plus you’d pay at an established dentist.
9. Generics, Generics, Generics
Medication costs aren’t going down any time soon, but you can generally save more than 50 percent on your maintenance medications if your doctor opts for a generic brand rather than a name-brand prescription. Also, they will give you free health care tips and, if you can sign up to receive more than one prescription a month, you will cut down on costs as well.
10. Avoid the Hospital
This is about the best of health care tips. Do what you can to stay out of the hospital Obviously if you’re in an extreme medical emergency you must call 911 or go to the emergency room, but when it comes to off-hour or after-hour medical care consider in-store health care providers, like at CVS, Target or Wal-Mart for one of your strategies to save money on medical expenses. You could spend $40 to $65 depending on the treatment and location, which is about what you’d spend at an emergency clinic with insurance.
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