A study carried out by Harvard University and published in medalerthelp.org shockingly revealed that the inability to pay for medical bills accounted for over 60% of all bankruptcies in America. The cost of health insurance has been climbing steadily putting people not getting subsidized insurance from their employers in a fix. Other issues like compulsory deductibles and co-payments also serve to make medical expenses a burden for most people. If you are finding healthcare expenses difficult to manage, here are a few tips that can reduce your medical bills without compromising on the care:
Buy the Best Health Insurance That You Can
While buying the cheapest health insurance may seem to be the best way of keeping costs down, it can actually turn out to be more expensive in other ways. Plans that are priced lower may not cover all test or procedures and limit you to a smaller network of healthcare providers, potentially making it more difficult to get appropriate care. You are also likely to discover that a cheap plan needs you to pay a larger deductible, which could hurt if you visit the doctor frequently. While cheap plans are not necessarily bad, if you have ongoing health concerns or have kids who tend to require more medical attention, you could actually benefit by a plan that has a higher premium but lower deductibles and co-pays.
Understand Fully the Benefits of the Insurance Plan
A 2017 study posted in www.fool.com shockingly reveals that only a little over half of the employees covered by health insurance understood what was covered by their plans. It is important that you review your health plan and know what is covered and what isn’t, and especially, which providers are in your network and which are not since non-networked service providers are more expensive. Further, for some procedures, you will be entitled to cover only if you get an authorization from the insurance company or a referral from a primary care doctor. You could end up being liable for very large amounts if you neglect to abide by the rules.If there’s something you don’t understand in your policy, call up the insurance company helpline and speak with the representatives.
Negotiate with the Service Provider for Services Not Covered
If there is a situation where you find yourself liable to pay for a service that your insurance plan does not cover, instead of meekly paying the full cost, you can ask the service provider for assistance informing them that you will be paying out of your pocket. It is sometimes, quite possible for service providers to offer reduced rates or failing that, a no or low-interest repayment plan that can help significantly. You may benefit from low-cost personal loans from a reputed online lender like libertylending.com if you are in dire straits.
Ask Your Doctor to Prescribe Generic Drugs
Branded medicines are invariably very expensive and if you are finding the prices prohibitive, request your physician to prescribe available generic alternatives. Generic drugs are as effective as the branded ones and can save you a packet in co-pays. According to estimates, close to 90% of co-pays for generic drugs are less than $20, which is around half of the branded medicine co-pays.
Purchase Medicines in Bulk
If you take certain medicines regularly, you should find out whether they are available in three-month supplies. Not only will you be spared of the trouble and expense of visiting the pharmacy but also saves you considerable money. In fact, sometimes, you may discover that a three-month supply costs even less than the supply for just one month.
Ask for Free Medicine Samples from Your Providers
Pharmaceutical companies regularly send free samples to the office of the doctors as well as providers in order to popularize the medicines. If you can overcome your initial embarrassment, you can save yourself a lot of money simply by asking for free samples. If you are being prescribed medicines that have $30 co-pay, you can save a handsome $60 simply with a free of cost two-month supply. Most service providers are only too happy to help.
Check Your Medical Bills Carefully Before Paying Them
The billing sections of the service providers are extremely busy and it is quite possible that some errors may creep in inadvertently while preparing the bills. It is always a good policy to check carefully all the bills you receive so that you can verify that the services that have been billed to you indeed have been received by you. Just a simple data entry error in the code may result in your being billed for a service that is far more expensive than the one you have received. If the bill contains items that are not even pertinent to you, the insurance company may even deny the claim so be sure to check everything carefully and ask questions whenever you don’t understand an entry.
Avoid ER Visits for Non-Critical Medical Issues
If you fall ill suddenly or meet with an accident after hours, you may not be able to access your regular physician. However, if the situation is non-life-threatening, instead of visiting the ER, you can visit an urgent care center to save a lot of money as typically ER visits tend to be quite expensive. Even if there is no deductible applicable or you have already met yours, the ER co-pay will still be far more costly than that of a walk-in clinic that also generally offer services that are faster.
However, much it is tempting to avoid doctors to reduce your medical bills; you can end up not only putting your health at risk but also incurring more expenses by allowing your condition to escalate. You need to be ahead of the curve as far as your health goes and make judicious decisions that will allow you to save the most while taking good care of your health. By being alert and open to exploring options, you can easily save thousands of dollars that you can put to use productively elsewhere.