There’s no two ways around it – healthcare costs can be a tremendous burden once they begin to pile up. And with the recent developments that Obamacare may be under fire again, it’s important to understand how you can stay on top of your medical bills and minimize their impact. Fortunately, today we’re going to outline six smart ways you can save money on medical expenses. And I’ll explain why a few common practices aren’t such a good idea. Check them out here:
1. Sign Up For High-Quality Insurance
No one likes making monthly insurance payments. However, partnering with the right insurance provider could end up saving you huge amounts of both money and stress down the line. The risks of going without health insurance in the hope of saving a few bucks here or there are simply too great to consider. Indeed, having to pay for serious medical treatments all on your own could put you into tens of thousands of dollars of debt in the space of just a few days or weeks. In addition, it’s a wise idea to apply for insurance in your 20s. Younger individuals will be able to secure lower payment rates and find plans with vital benefits. Rather than putting off this expense until later, get this sorted out ASAP!
2. Visit Your Doctor Regularly
It may sound counter-intuitive to try and save money by visiting your regular MD more often, yet, doctors can help you stay ahead of minor conditions and address/cure them before they contribute to other, more serious medical issues. Even something as innocuous as a hernia can become life-threatening if left untreated! By nipping potential problems in the bud, you not only improve your health, but will likely save a lot of cash as well.
3. Seek Out Free Opportunities
Believe it or not, there are private organizations dedicated to providing free or extremely minimal-cost medical services. In fact, there are a number of charitable groups that set up clinics devoted to particular medical conditions. For instance, most major cities have at least on STD testing center that offers free or nearly free services. Before you decide to let your insurance cover a medical expense (and potentially face increased rates as a result) see if there’s an alternative option available.
4. Request Generic Drugs
The pharmaceutical industry is, in many ways, similar to many other business fields. To wit, brand-name medications and drugs tend to cost consumers a premium. Most of the time, though, generic drugs are just as effective and a good deal cheaper. Ask your doctor about the possibility of switching treatment to a more affordable medication. Chances are, you’ll be able to save a decent amount by switching.
5. Avoid Unnecessary ER Trips to really Save Money on Medical Expenses
Of course, you should visit the emergency room if you need medical assistance quickly. At the end of the day, your well-being is more important than the costs associated with a hospital stay. Nevertheless, if at all possible, cut out unnecessary trips to the emergency room. The emergency room is for emergencies only, so unless you truly need medical attention right away, schedule a regular doctor’s appointment instead. Additionally, if you find yourself scheduling more and more medical appointments without just cause, you may be suffering from illness anxiety disorder.
6. Set up a Payment Plan
Though you may feel isolated and nervous about paying off your medical bills, the reality is that millions of Americans are in the same position as you are. Many people struggle to cover their healthcare expenses and therefore, it’s completely reasonable to talk to your medical providers about setting up a payment plan that works for you. Many organizations will be more than willing to accommodate your financial situation, and they’ll help you arrive at a solution for your healthcare debt. The key, naturally, is to ask first and be willing to negotiate. Don’t pay for more than you have to!
The Bottom Line
Effectively budgeting for medical expenses is extremely difficult. And though it makes a lot of sense to set aside a rainy day fund for just such an unexpected setback, it’s still quite easy to get caught out by the price of healthcare services. Thankfully, by following the above steps you can alleviate some of the financial burden healthcare costs create.