When was your last trip to the doctor? Did one of your kids fall sick, or were you or your spouse getting regular health exams? Did you walk away feeling like you received care that was worth the personal cost? Health care is one of the biggest expenses per capita in the United States, and every family lives in fear of a time when one of their own could need urgent medical care that is outside of an insurance plan or otherwise difficult to afford. Beyond that, the everyday cost of making sure your family is healthy is a huge financial burden in itself. Fortunately, there are small ways every family can save money on their medical expenses. And, as we all know, every little bit helps.
1. Ask for generic medication.
This is a commonly-known way to save on medical costs, but many of us forget or are too polite to ask our doctors directly to prescribe generic medication, rather than the more expensive varieties. You may assume your doctor will automatically prescribe the least expensive medication, but you won’t really know unless you ask specifically for a generic brand.
2. Know your plan.
One of the easiest ways to overspend on medical bills is to overlook the things your insurance policy actually covers. Make sure you are aware of the costs you will be accountable for before you head to the doctor. If it’s a routine visit, or something that could be taken care of with a quick run to a clinic or drugstore, it may be best to save your visit for another time.
3. Get your bills itemized.
If you don’t know what you’re paying for when you get your insurance bills, then that is a problem. Make sure to ask for itemized bills so you know exactly what they are charging you and have the power to ask why or ask that they don’t follow through with particular “routine” procedures in the future. In fact, the best way to cut down on unnecessary billing is to ask your doctor outright what they will be billing for your visit. There may be particular treatments you can opt out of if you know what, exactly, will be billed.
4. Make sure your doctor works for you.
This is one of the most important pieces of advice for saving on health costs. Make sure you have a doctor who is willing to research your insurance policy before charging you, and make sure they can write up claims that will get you the most money back from your insurer. Most doctors’ offices do this automatically (they would much rather bill an insurance company, who is likely to pay them, for the majority of the cost, rather than a patient). But we have all had an experience where the price that our doctor assumed would be covered was nowhere near the price that the insurance company was willing to pay.
About the author:
Amelia Wood contributed this guest post. She pursues freelance writing projects in the medical billing and coding online niche. She especially loves hearing back from her readers. Questions or comments can be sent to wood. amelia1612 @ gmail.com.