It’s no secret that healthcare costs are increasing every year. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found that the average American family now pays over $25,000 annually for healthcare expenses. That number is only going to continue to grow in the years ahead. If you’re not careful, your family’s healthcare costs could quickly spiral out of control.
Fortunately, you can do a few things to manage your finances and keep your healthcare costs under control. Here are a few tips.
1. Know what your insurance covers.
Most people are surprised to learn that their health insurance policy doesn’t cover everything. Most policies have a pretty extensive list of exclusions. Knowing what your policy covers and doesn’t cover is essential to plan accordingly.
For example, if your policy doesn’t cover prescription drugs, you’ll want to ensure you have a plan to pay for them. Otherwise, you could find yourself facing a hefty bill. If you’re unsure what your policy covers, call your insurance company and ask. Some people also find it helpful to review their policy documents yearly.
Depending on your policy, you may also have to pay a deductible before your insurance company starts to pay for covered services. A high deductible can be a financial burden, so it’s essential to factor that into your budget. Health savings accounts (HSAs) can be an excellent way to save money for your deductible.
2. Negotiate with your health provider.
Did you know that you can negotiate with your healthcare provider? If you’re facing a large bill, call your provider and see if they’re willing to work with you. They’ll often be willing to reduce the bill or set up a payment plan.
For example, your dentist may be willing to give you a discount if you pay for your procedure in cash. They may offer you a 10% discount if you pay in cash. You can also look for lower-cost procedures. If you need a tooth replacement, you can ask your dentist for same day implants, which can save you money in the long run.
This is where having a good relationship with your healthcare provider can come in handy. If you’ve been a good patient and paid your bills on time, they may be more likely to work with you. Ask for a discount or payment plan, and let them know if you have financial difficulties.
3. Use generic drugs whenever possible.
Generic drugs are just as effective as their brand-name counterparts but cost a lot less. Most of the time, you pay for marketing and advertising costs when choosing a brand-name drug. So, why not save yourself some money and go with the generic option?
When choosing a generic drug, ask your pharmacist if there are any cheaper alternatives. Generic medicines are often available in different dosages and strengths. So, you may be able to save even more money by choosing a lower-strength option.
If you’re struggling to pay for your prescription drugs, a few programs can help. The RxAssist website provides a list of patient assistance programs that can help you get the medications you need at a reduced cost. Some programs even offer free medications.
4. Get preventive care.
Many think they only need to see a doctor when they’re sick. However, that’s not the case. Preventive care can help you stay healthy and catch problems early before they become serious. For example, screenings for cancer can help detect the disease in its early stages when it’s more treatable.
Preventive care can also help you avoid costly treatments down the road. For example, if you have diabetes, getting preventive care can help you avoid complications like heart disease or stroke. Most health insurance plans are required to cover preventive care services with no out-of-pocket costs.
Many healthcare providers offer discounts for preventive care services. For example, some doctors may offer a discount if you get a flu shot or participate in a wellness program. When considering a new healthcare provider, ask about discounts they offer for preventive care services.
5. Review your bills carefully.
It’s not uncommon for medical bills to contain errors. A study by the American Medical Association found that 8.9% of medical bills have errors. That’s why it’s essential to review your statements carefully.
If you find an error on your bill, call the provider and ask for an explanation. You may be able to get the charge removed or get a discount. If you’re having trouble understanding your bill, don’t hesitate to ask for help. You can call the customer service number on your bill or contact your insurance company.
If you’re struggling to pay for healthcare, a few options are available. You can negotiate with your healthcare provider, use generic drugs, get preventive care, or review your bills carefully. By taking these steps, you can save money on your healthcare costs.