However you feel about politics and what goes on in Washington, you probably agree that healthcare is pretty expensive. Even if you have good insurance, you might be paying thousands per year out-of-pocket to meet deductibles or make up for what’s not covered. Since everyone would love to save money on healthcare costs, here are a few tips that could save you some dough this year.
1. Do Some Homework
When you re-up your insurance for the year, be sure you’re choosing the right plan. If you’re generally healthy, a high-deductible plan could save you a lot in premiums, for example. But if you have new or ongoing health issues, you might want to opt for the higher coverage. Examine what you usually spend on health care out-of-pocket in a year and balance that against the premiums.
2. Save on Prescriptions
Prescriptions, even if your insurance covers them, can get super expensive. Cut your prescription costs by ordering them in bulk if you can. You should also shop around for the least expensive pharmacies (if you have a Costco membership, it’s definitely worth checking there). If there’s a generic alternative to your medication, you’ll save big there. Some pharmacies even have loyalty cards or other incentives.
3. Think Outside the Box
Instead of automatically opting for a traditional insurance plan, look into some of the cost-sharing plans that are available to you. Many of these will satisfy the medical coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act, and the monthly share amount might be significantly less than your insurance premiums, and offer about the same or even better coverage.
4. Check Your Bill
Did you know that 45% of Americans have received inaccurate health care bills? And those are just the ones who are aware of it. Before paying any medical bill, check it over carefully to make sure you aren’t paying for an expensive mistake. There are codes for procedures and medicines, and they can and do get mixed up.
5. Avoid the ER, if Possible
Emergency rooms are notoriously expensive, but many of us turn there rather than try to get into a doctor during business hours. If your case isn’t really an emergency, look for an urgent care center instead. You don’t need an appointment, and you’ll probably spend a lot less for the visit.