In 2017, Americans spent an astounding $3.5 trillion on healthcare. Americans are spending about twice as much on medical care as other wealthy countries. It’s no wonder that healthcare spending can hit a family’s budget hard.
Want to save money on medical and prescription costs without having to sacrifice your health? Click here for 10 simple savings solutions!
1. Shop Around
You should shop around different pharmacies. Prices can vary at different pharmacies due to volume and the location. You can check websites for the lowest prices and compare before setting foot in a pharmacy.
Also, be sure to look for online coupons like this Eliquis coupon to save money. Talk to your pharmacist about other ways you can save. Some pharmacies offer reward programs to help you save money as a regular customer.
2. Ask for Generic Medications to Lower Prescription Costs
Don’t wait until you go to the pharmacy before you ask for a generic medication. Not all drugs have a generic version, so your doctor can tell you ahead of time if there is no generic available. Generic medications can save consumers $8 billion to $10 billion.
Even with insurance, you can still save because some insurance companies charge higher co-pays for brand name prescriptions. Most generics work just like their more expensive counterparts. Most over-the-counter medications, like pain relievers and allergy medications, have generic versions as well to help you save even more.
3. Sign Up for a Flexible Spending Account
Using your pretax dollars to pay for medical expenses can save you a bunch of money. You can sign up for an FSA through your employer, and you can contribute up to $2,650 annually. You can use this money to pay for various health expenses like medical supplies, doctor visits, prescriptions, and prescription eyewear.
You decide how much you want to contribute, and your employer deducts the amount in even installments through the year. You can pay for your medical expenses by paying with your own money and getting reimbursed or using a debit card linked to your FSA.
If you contribute the full amount and your tax rate is 25 percent, you could save around $660 in taxes. The biggest downfall of FSAs any money you don’t use is forfeited, so make sure you don’t contribute too much.
4. Choose the Right Medical Facility
Your cost for any service is going to vary based on where you go. If you have a sudden illness or accident, you may not want to run to the nearest emergency room if it is not life-threatening. ER visits can average about the same cost as your mortgage and could be higher if you run into out-of-network expenses.
You should consider a walk-in clinic or urgent care for after hour care if it’s not a severe emergency. Plus, these facilities have quicker service.
When choosing a doctor or provider, be sure to check with your insurance to find an in-network provider. Some insurance companies will not pay for services of out-of-network.
5. Ask for Free Medication Samples
Ask your doctor for free samples of prescription medications. Tell your doctor that some of the prescriptions are just too expensive. You could save on a couple months with these free samples.
6. Don’t Let Health Issues Get Worse
Seeing a doctor for a minor health problem may seem like a hassle or a waste of money. What happens when this minor problem gets worse and you end up paying more to get it resolved? For example, you have a bad cough that turns into pneumonia.
A simple doctor’s visit could save you thousands of dollars. Don’t let things get out of hand to avoid paying a simple copay—it’s a risk not worth taking.
7. Negotiate Services
If you need a service your insurance does not pay for, you could have to pay the full cost. Talk to your medical provider and see if there is anything they can do to assist with the cost.
Some medical offices offer reduced rates or payment plans. You can also call your insurance company to see if there is anything you can do to get the service covered like a referral or medical necessity document from your doctor.
8. Buy Medications in Bulk
Your insurance company may offer discounts if you buy your medication in bulk like a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day supply. It will also save you trips to the pharmacy (and gas money, too). Check out some mail order options to see if you qualify for a cheaper rate with automatic order refill programs.
9. Review Your Medical Bills Before Paying
You should review all of your “explanation of benefits” (EOB) statements you get from your provider. These documents tell you what they paid and what costs are your responsibility.
Be sure you understand what you owe when you get your medical bill. You should make sure these amounts matched and all services were reported to the insurance company.
You want to make sure you are not overcharged. A recent study found that up to 80 percent of hospital bills have errors.
Before you pay, make sure the provider billed your insurance company for all services. If your bill does not have an itemized list of services, be sure to call the billing department to ask for a breakdown of all fees.
10. Invest in Better Health Insurance
Having the plan with the lowest premium may seem like it will save you money, but that’s not always the case. The cheaper insurance could actually cost you more money in the long run.
For example, lower cost plans may not pay for all tests or procedures. You may even have a smaller group of in-network providers. Health insurance with lower premiums tend to have higher deductibles or co-pays.
These bills can add up if you visit a doctor regularly. If you have children or known medical issues, you may want to pay for the higher premium to save money. This is why it’s best to get the health insurance that is right for you.
Looking for More Health Care Advice?
Now that you learned about lowering prescription costs and healthcare expenses, check out our site for other useful health advice. Find articles like tips on improving your health so you don’t have to visit the doctor as often.