We’re all about people being as proactive as possible when it comes to healthcare, because it will reduce stress and save patients money. With that said, in emergency situations, the most important thing is getting care as quickly as possible and dealing with the bill afterwards. In non-emergency situations though, there are all kinds of ways to make sure you get great care for an affordable price. In this blog, we’re going to look at five very simple tactics most anyone can use to save money on healthcare.
1. Ask About Cash Pay
Even if you have health insurance, sometimes paying cash is actually cheaper. This is especially true when someone has a high deductible health plan, sometimes upwards of $10K, and is covering the cost until they hit that deductible. The cash pay cost will be out-of-pocket and won’t go towards your deductible, but if your health insurance out-of-pocket costs or co-pay is more expensive than the cash pay option, it’s usually worth it. It’s incredibly simple too; either ask ahead over the phone, or ask at the front desk when you go to your appointment. Easy!
2. Search and Compare
A lot of health insurers have online platforms where you can search and compare doctors, facilities, and other medical services based on quality and price. Price transparency isn’t readily available for all medical services (yet) but you can at least see estimates to help you make a decision. There are also websites available such as Healthcare Blue Book that will give estimates to help you search and compare for the most affordable option.
3. Consider Traveling
You’d be surprised how much lower the cost of medical care can be in some cities compared to others. Some people go to extremes and travel to other countries for medical care (often referred to as medical tourism) but you don’t need to book a flight to find affordable care. Sometimes simply driving a few miles to a different area can make a big difference in medical costs. For example, groups like Texas Medical Management and Surgery Center of Oklahoma serve patients from across the US because they offer affordable transparent prices on many procedures.
4. Avoid Hospitals When Possible
Hospitals are notorious for charging obscenely high medical bills. In emergency situations or other special circumstances, sometimes a hospital is your only choice and that’s okay. If you need a procedure done and are able, try going to outpatient surgery centers like the two mentioned above, which are usually far more affordable than hospitals. If you just need to see a doctor, always go to your in-network primary physician rather than the hospital. Need to see your physician the same day but they don’t have availability? Ask them if they do telehealth visits if your medical need is something that doesn’t need to be physically examined in-person. If you don’t have a primary care physician, look into Direct Primary Care physicians.
5. Use Coupons for Prescriptions
Coupons for prescriptions are one of the easiest ways to save on healthcare! You can find them on websites like RxSaver or GoodRx, the drug manufacturers website, at the pharmacy, or sometimes your doctor will have one you can use. Another option is to get the generic version of a prescription drug, as these are often as low as half the price of name brand prescriptions and work just as well. Just ask your doctor and/or pharmacist about your options.
In non-emergency situations, taking the time to plan out your care can mean the difference between a couple of dollars and hundreds of dollars. Not everyone is comfortable negotiating their medical bills or has the time to do extensive research to find where to get affordable care, so these five tips are ones that can be used quickly and easily by almost anyone.