Healthcare costs are going up and we are all looking for ways to not spend more than we need to. Here are five things you can do to lower your healthcare costs immediately, while getting the care your doctor recommends:
- Save money when your doctor writes your prescriptions correctly. It’s really easy. Just ask your doctor to always write generic prescriptions, when possible, and to always write “no substitutions” on your prescriptions. This is the way you stop your pharmacist from upgrading you to medications that are expensive and add no additional benefit. Use free prescription coupon apps like GoodRx to assure you pay the right price. Don’t do this and you are destined to pay a high copay for a medication that may cost much less.
- Ask your doctor if someone can call you with results, so no additional appointment is needed. This will save you an additional and unnecessary copay or deductible expense, not to mention the missed time from work and the fun stuff you’d rather be doing.
- Use your primary care provider or chiropractor instead of a specialist to save money. You don’t always get additional benefit from seeing a specialist. For example, you do not need to see a dermatologist to get a skin cancer check. Family physicians all do this. And you do not always need to see an orthopedic surgeon when your back hurts. See a chiropractor and let him refer you to a specialist if your condition warrants. And ask for a home exercise program to speed recovery so less chiropractic visits are needed.
- Avoid hospital-owned facilities whenever you can. Don’t be tricked by MRI and urgent care facilities, and even primary care physicians now, that have been purchased by your local hospital system. The prices will always be higher there because hospitals always negotiate higher fees from insurance companies. And when you do need a hospital, choose the right one. Take it to the bank, the biggest hospital in your community, the one that advertises the most and has the greatest bargaining power, will be expensive. The second, third and fourth biggest hospitals in any market are usually more affordable. This matters a lot when you have no insurance or a high deductible.
- Leave your insurance card at home. Or at least never lead with it. Ask for the cash price, and even a payment plan if you need one. Most services will have a low cash price compared to if you use insurance. It’s ok to keep your insurance card secret until you know you need it. Don’t be intimidated into showing and using it. And, especially if you need higher cost services, always inquire about if you might qualify for free payment assistance programs that will cost less out of pocket than using insurance.
Use these basic healthcare tips and you will see healthcare become a bit more affordable. With health insurance rates continuing to go up, it’s an important time to get control of unnecessary cost and wasted time.