How to Save on Money Medical Costs
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about how you can save a bundle on healthcare by taking preventative action to keep yourself healthy and happy. But sometimes those preventative actions are not enough to keep sickness away and you just have to go see a doctor. Whenever that happens to me, my mind immediately jumps to a dark place where I wind up with a huge multi-hundred dollar doctor bill and prescription to fill. You don’t even want to know what goes through my mind if I have to go the urgent care clinic on the weekends.
But medical costs don’t necessarily have to make you go broke. There are still ways to save money on necessary medical costs, and that can help put you more at ease the next time you have to shell out for a doctor’s visit or other medical cost.
One of the easiest ways to save money on medical costs is to ask questions. Heck, asking questions can save you on almost anything!
Before you go to the doctor or urgent care clinic, ask yourself if it’s really necessary for you to go in. Many times I’ve found that I think I’m getting sick with a sinus infection only to have my stuffiness clear up the next day. If I rushed right in to the doctor’s office I’d end up paying a co-pay on a doctor’s appointment I didn’t necessarily need. Now, I’m not saying you should put off going to the doctor or urgent care clinic if you really need to be seen, that would be silly and could end up costing you more if you condition worsens before you get into the doctor’s office.
Another place to ask questions is after you’ve arrived at the doctor’s office or urgent care clinic. It may feel rude or awkward, but if you are really worried about your budget, it’s worth gently asking your doctor if every test and procedure they are ordering is really necessary. Sometimes they are, but sometimes they are just preventative measures.
The last place you should always ask questions is surrounding any extra bill you may receive. There are some outlandish costs out there for aspirin that cost over $100 per pill. Don’t take those prices laying down. Call, talk with someone, and ask them about every line item if you have to. You can successfully reduce your overall bill by just asking simple questions about some of the charges. No one should pay $100 for an aspirin or $50 for a glorified paper towel. It’s just not right and you shouldn’t feel bad about asking someone to make it right.
Utilize Generic Products
Most medications have a generic version, but this isn’t something that is always advertised by medical professionals. Generic medications have the same active ingredients as their name-brand counterparts, but cost between 30-80% less.
Another option is to ask your doctor if there are coupons or samples available for the medication they are prescribing for you. In the past, my doctor has given me samples of some medications which has reduced my cost at the pharmacy. Likewise, they have also given me coupons to help make my name-brand medications more affordable when a generic version is not available.
Consider Pill Splitting
Before you start pill splitting, you MUST discuss it with your doctor first. Sometimes pill splitting is a good idea. For example, if you doctor wants you to take 10 mg of a certain drug but it’s only available in 20 mg doses, you might be able to split your pills in half, saving you money.
Again, before you try pill splitting you must discuss it with your doctor. There are some medications that cannot or should not be split under any circumstances.
Consider Paying Cash
If you’ve had to go to the doctor and you have a bill in front of you, stop for a minute and see if you can pay that bill in cash. Hospitals and doctor’s offices lose a lot of money from non-payment. This means people just skip their bill and don’t do anything to rectify it. This is one of the many reasons healthcare costs in the US are so high.
If you do have a bill beyond what your insurance will pay, call the billing department of the doctor’s office or hospital and ask them for a discount if you pay it all now with cash/check. Seriously, just ask them. Many will grant you a discount because they know all the money is coming in and they don’t have to deal with payment plans or chasing you for the payment. It’s a win-win situation when you have to pay for a procedure.
Medical costs can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to save if you take the time to ask questions and explore your options. Just make sure that whatever you are doing to save money on medical costs is safe. No savings are worth risking your life.