Ways to Save Some Cash on Healthcare Expenditures
Most Americans consider healthcare as their top priority. But with the escalating health care expenses, it has been a financial burden to many.
According to the research conducted by the American Journal of Medicine, 62.1% of all U.S. bankruptcies in 2007 were medical-affiliated, and 92% of those who filed had medical debts of more than $5,000.
If you are one of those who experiences financial difficulty about medical concerns, well, there are several steps to slash or lessen the load.
Table of Contents
Choose the Right Insurance Plan
In the choice of the right insurance plan, don’t just go around choosing the low-cost plan or the one you have been using before. You might find insurances with a small annual premium tempting, but in some cases, it is not necessarily the most cost-effective option. On the other hand, if you select the higher-cost plan and paying greater annual health insurance premium for services that you might not even need throughout the year.
Benefits of these plans change annually. And it would be the best way to hunt for the right plan there is. Write down a list of all the medications you and your family take, your family’s average number of doctor visits per year, dental cleanings, and other services.
Since you can’t foresee what will happen in the future, you can make educated guesses with the aid of the data you have enlisted. Compare what you would most likely to pay over a year for these items on each plan including monthly premiums and deductibles.
It doesn’t matter what type of plan you choose as long as you have understood the benefits before receiving any medical services. Take time to review which services are in the coverage of the insurance and which are not, and find out if you need to obtain referral or preauthorization before moving forward with anything. Taking the right insurance plan can help you save a few hundred dollars for your healthcare costs.
Use in-network care providers
If you have a PPO (preferred provider option) health plan, then your insurance plan has contracted with individual doctors, specialists, hospitals, laboratories, and facilities. These providers are known as in-network. They have agreed and accepted a specific rate for their services offered by your insurance plan.
You might be questioning why your insurance health plan does not cover all providers. It is for the reason that health plans deal with distinct groups of providers for discounts. This thing can save them some money.
On the other hand, some providers are out-of-network. It means that your insurance company does not cover them. If ever you are forced to use an out-of-network provider, you are most likely going to spend additional dollars compared to the amount of money that will cost you with an in-network. Typically, some insurance plans will deny paying for the services done by an out-of-network provider which means you are responsible for covering the entirety of the bill.
Other plans would require you to pay a higher copay or coinsurance percentage for using an out-of-network provider, while some impose a deductible. Whenever possible, stick to in-network providers. Keep in mind that this doesn’t ensure that all services are in the coverage of your insurance plan.
Be wise on prescriptions
Obtain 90-Day Supplies. Ordering a 90-day supply can significantly vary on rates from renewing your 30-day prescription on a month-to-month basis. To qualify for a discount, you may need to order your medication through a distinct pharmacy or mail order service.
Go for generics. Some insurance companies charge higher copays for brand-name meds than they do for generics. In most cases, generic versions are just as good as the branded medications, only they are much affordable. So if your physician prescribes a drug, do not hesitate to ask if it comes in a generic. According to FDA (Food and Drug Administration), like with those of brand names, generics are just as safe and may cost up to 80% deduction.
Ask for Samples. Pharmaceutical companies are supplying doctors with samples of their products. Try asking your doctor about prescription samples. This could save you some penny just by getting a few free doses.
Ask for over-the-counter (OTC) alternative. In some occasions, it isn’t necessary to take prescription meds to treat medical or health concerns. If your doctor prescribed a medication that’s a bit pricey, ask your physician if there’s a cheaper OTC remedy to your issue.
Review your Bills
The bills you receive from your providers may seem like a waste of paper, but in fact, they are essential documents. Always spare some time to read through each line before agreeing to get some money out of your pocket. Ask for a list of the fees involved, and don’t forget to check your bills for mathematical lapses.
As for Houston medical billing, they provide itemized statement for the services rendered. They do an exceptional work on processing claims to be sent to health insurance companies for reimbursement.
Choose the Right Facility
Depending on your coverage, the cost of a particular service differs from area to area. Some tests and procedures require lesser rate when performed at a laboratory or center as contrary to a hospital, given you select an in-network complex.
If you are facing a non-emergency incident, urgent care facility or a walk-in clinic could save you up some penny than an ER. Additionally, clinics only cost a small portion of hospital emergency rooms and are available to anyone.
Take Preventive Measures
“Prevention is better than cure.” It is recommended to address medical concerns as early as possible before it becomes a drag. Many insurance plans offer free wellness visits and check up yearly; take advantage of them. Participating in these preventive cares is a money-wise choice for both you and your insurer. Not only it’s good for your health but it can also hinder future costly medical problems in the long run.
Question your Physician
Don’t be afraid to ask all about your doctor’s recommendation and services, including hospital room stays, lab tests, medications, etc. If your physician asked you to undergo a test or any medical procedure that is not covered by your insurance or one that is covered but might cost you some extra cash, might as well, ask your doctor if it’s really compulsory.
If you talked about the financial affairs, your doctor might come up with an alternative option. One factor in decreasing costs may be postponing, or even eliminating, an unnecessary test or procedure. Well, you need to consult your doctor when it comes to that.
Get a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can help you save money on health care expenditures in a way that it allows you to apportion pretax cash toward qualified products like prescriptions, in-office copays, and spectacles. Through your employer, you can readily sign up for FSA. Then, you just need to figure out how much money to allocate.
However, FSA is on a “use it or lose it” basis. For instance, if you decide to allot $3,500 into your FSA but only $2,000 has been expensed in eligible medical charges over the course of the year, you will lose the remaining $1,500. As for preventing this problem, go through the past year’s records to determine the sufficient amount to put in your FSA.
Healthcare is a major concern for all. One of the best options you can do is be well-rounded and provident. Whatever situation will come your way, spare some time to research and comprehend the benefits and medication options available to evade unwanted incidents that could bring financial ruin.
Feed yourself with the knowledge of your insurance benefits, in-network providers, cheaper drugs, and facilities, etc. You have all the right to manage your medical expenses. The steps listed above will allow you to take a full control to affect your present and future medical issues significantly.
Brittany Miller is a medical billing assistant whose passion has always been on helping people. She is very compassionate and committed to providing the best assistance to those who are in need. Other than that, she loves to write and share about the things she knows in the field of health. Feel free to connect with Brittany.