Did you know that medical bills are the biggest cause of U.S bankruptcies, with up to 1 million Americans filing such bankruptcies each year?
While quality healthcare may seem like a shot in the dark, it is possible to save money while ensuring your physical well-being.
Let’s get into how to secure affordable and quality healthcare!
1. Always Stay In-Network
The bottom line is this: when you use out-of-network providers, you’re always going to pay more (sometimes upwards of 300%).
Double and triple-check that your providers are in-network. That means everyone you see, ranging from your standard primary care physician to your specialized orthopedist to your dermatologist.
Don’t be afraid to ask. You don’t want to be caught by horrendous medical bills by surprise later on.
2. Go Generic
If your doctor prescribes you a name-brand, there’s a good chance that a generic alternative will do the same job.
Generics, by nature, are less expensive, and there’s no difference in effects or outcome. This is an easy way to save money on quality healthcare.
3. Read The Bill and Receipts
Even the best medical biller can make mistakes. Many Americans state that they’ve received false or inaccurate bills at some point.
It’s your job to protect yourself from getting hit with an overpayment. Review each bill that you receive and call your insurance provider to dispute any errors.
Even if something just looks off (or you don’t understand a particular charge), contact your provider. It never hurts to ask. Affordable, quality healthcare is all about being proactive.
4. Shop Your Pharmacies
Each drug store has different prices, and it’s up to you to find the lowest one. Check out the local retailers near you. Costco, Target, Walgreens, and CVS are a few popular options that you’ll want to price-check.
Many retailers offer prescription savings clubs to incentivize their customers. You’ll get a discounted rate, and they may price-match with other competitors.
Just remember this: loyalty to a certain pharmacy may cost you more in the long run. Feel free to shop around!
5. Use an HSA
If you have a high-deductible health plan, start funding a health savings account (HSA). An HSA provides numerous tax advantages.
For example, you can keep all your money in the account and use it as an additional form of medical savings. Or, you can choose to invest the funds and withdraw it later on. Either way, your money grows interest-free.
You can currently contribute up to $3,450 for an individual or $6,900 for a family.
6. Get in Shape
This one may seem obvious, but it still needs to be emphasized. Self-improvement goes a long way. Taking care of your body now is invaluable when it comes to preventative, quality healthcare.
A healthy body can lower your risk of all kinds of concerning medical ailments such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
If you’ve been looking for one more reason to hit the gym, let saving money motivate you.
And, no, it doesn’t mean you have to sign up for a marathon either. Even increasing your exercise by another hour a week can make a huge difference.
7. Consider Telemedicine
Many insurance companies now offer telemedicine for their patients. The premise here is simple. You consult with doctors or other professionals online or over the phone for minor medical concerns. As a result, you pay just a fraction of an inpatient visit price.
What’s even better? You don’t have to leave the house! Talk about a win-win when you’re feeling sick, right?
Check with your insurance to see if this is a viable option for you.
8. Deduct Medical Expenses
If you had an expensive year in terms of healthcare costs, you can deduct them from your yearly taxes.
Currently, you can qualify for a deduction if your expenses exceed more than 10% of your adjusted gross income.
There are many qualified expenses that count including:
- specialty items (hearing aids, walkers)
- mileage costs
It’s best to sit down with a professional accountant if you think that you may qualify for a tax break.
9. Take Advantage of Wellness Programs
Does your company have a wellness program in place? If so, take advantage of it! Not only will you save money, but you will also stay on top of your health screenings.
Wellness program rewards may include lucrative incentives like money, gift cards, reduced insurance premiums, or HSA contributions.
All you have to do is follow the guidelines, such as sign up for health assessments or participate in exercise programs.
10. Choose the Right Health Care Plan
If health insurance makes your head spin, you’re not alone. Navigating all those different plan options can be difficult!
With that said, it’s essential to choose the right one for your individual needs (and that doesn’t always mean the cheapest option).
You’ll first want to check with your employer. These plans are generally going to cost you less than if you went on the open marketplace by yourself.
An HMO will cost you less, and it’s best if you’re okay with letting your primary doctor coordinate your care for you.
A PPO typically costs more upfront (each month), but it’s best if you want more provider options without needing referrals.
Determining the best deductible or copayment options will largely depend on:
- how frequently you see a doctor
- the medications you take
- current health status
- whether you have a family
- history or planned surgeries
- chronic conditions
Be smart, shop around, and ask questions! Today, more and more companies are trying to build relationships with their members, patients, and consumers to lower healthcare costs (view here). With that in mind, you still need to be diligent in your search.
Final Thoughts on Securing Quality Healthcare
When it comes to really taking care of your health, you are the best resource you can have. Be proactive and diligent with your insurance, your check-ups, and taking care of yourself!
Interested in learning more interesting hacks and tips? Be sure to check out our blog!