Medical care, like taxes, is an inevitable expense we all have to pay for. In most cases, especially when situations arise, you’re happy you have it. Unfortunately, however, the cost of health care appears to be on the constant rise. Your monthly cost, deductible, and all-around medical bills and services seem to be more expensive than ever.
Often times you find yourself paying a significant amount because your deductible is high or find that your health care plan simply doesn’t cover as much as you’d hoped. Furthermore, opting for the cheapest plan usually means opting for the worst plan with the highest deductible.
Nonetheless, you shouldn’t have to shell out half your paycheck to obtain proper health care. Thankfully, there’s an array of steps and habits you can adopt in order to lower your costs. Consider trying these seven ways to reduce medical care costs.
1. Maintain Healthy Habits
While certain health problems and concerns might be inevitable, it’s no secret that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can either eliminate or alleviate the need for high-cost medical procedures.
Taking the proper steps and instilling the correct habits towards a balanced diet and exercise are the keys to staying healthy. Stay away from too many processed or junk foods, get regular exercise, and properly take any medications you do have.
It might not sound like much, but you’d be surprised just how much these small preventative habits can help reduce medical care costs. Moreover, take care to maintain proper hygiene as well, to protect yourself when others have fallen ill.
2. Utilize Preventative Care
Apart from the steps you can personally take to stay healthy, there’s also an array of preventative options to help ensure your health.
Between regular doctor visits, shots, and yearly screenings, you can keep your health on track and, should there be an issue, catch it before it becomes a larger problem. Talk with your doctor about your health history and concerns to figure out which procedures or shots would be appropriate and beneficial to you.
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3. Shop Around
You probably wouldn’t purchase the first car you drove, and you shouldn’t necessarily go with the first health plan presented to you either. Like you would before making any major purchase, be sure to shop around before officially picking a plan.
Review various plans’ copay costs, deductibles, monthly premiums, coverage details, and networks. Then, decide what best suits you and your family.
What health needs do you have currently or what might you anticipate for the future? Carefully considering the every detail, both in the plan and with your medical needs, can help you figure out what will not only provide you with the right service, but will also reduce medical care costs.
4. Save on Medication
Your medications are no doubt one of the things that increase the cost of your medical care. Most medications come at an exorbitant cost and the ratio that health insurance seems to cover is slowly diminishing. That being said, finding ways to cut down on prescription price is one surefire way to reduce medical care costs overall.
Before accepting your doctor’s first suggestion, ask if there’s a generic or alternative. Generics, for the most part, use the same active ingredients as the brand names, and there’s usually more than one medication available to treat various ailments.
Another great alternative is to see if your prescription is available through mail-order. Cutting out the middleman and receiving a couple months supply is often much more inexpensive than going through the pharmacy.
5. Stay In-Network
While we all have our go-to doctors and physicians, if yours isn’t in your health network, it could be costing you extra. Your health insurance company has partnered with certain providers, hospitals, and facilities in order to provide you with lower cost services. And going outside that approved network can cost you hundreds of dollars more.
Ergo, to keep your doctors visits as inexpensive as possible find your insurance plan’s list of providers and stick with one of them.
6. Utilize Urgent or Convenience Care
Emergency rooms are notorious for costing you an arm and a leg. Unfortunately, there are times when your family doctor might be closed and you simply have no other option. Nonetheless, there are alternatives to ERs, so long as it’s not really an emergency, that could save you hundreds of dollars.
Next time you need medical assistance during an office’s off-hours, opt to go to an urgent care instead. They’re well-staffed with physicians and nurses that are fully equipped to deal minor injuries and illnesses at a fraction of the cost.
Furthermore, for other routine conditions and illnesses, such as an earache or rash, you could save even more and opt for a convenience care center. These are usually located in a pharmacy or grocery store.
7. Ask About Procedure & Test Alternatives
Often times, doctors will order a variety of medical tests and procedures simply to rule out certain conditions and diseases. While their precaution is welcomed, those tests can cost you thousands of dollars.
Before officially agreeing to a test or procedure, be sure to discuss every option with your doctor. Figure out what’s really medically imperative, what’s cautionary, and ask about other alternatives that might cost less. Doing so could save you from hefty medical bills.
Moreover, be sure to ask about possible outpatient facilities should you need to have a minor surgery or procedure. They’re often cheaper than a hospital visit.
Your health is one of the most precious things in life, because when we’re unhealthy or sick, we realize just how much we take it for granted. Even so, staying healthy shouldn’t mean paying thousands of dollars every year for health insurance and other medical costs.
While it’s no doubt a service and plan you need, proper healthcare shouldn’t keep you from saving for other, important goals in your life. By weighing all your options and being aware of a few tips and tricks, you can find ways to still have great care all while saving money.
Have you found your doctor helpful when trying to find alternatives to reduce medical care costs?