TEN Things To Reduce Your Healthcare Cost$
These days, everyone's looking for ways to save money on healthcare. There are many things everyone can do to save money on medical costs without compromising on quality of care. Here are ten money-saving ideas you can use to reduce your healthcare expenses.
Visit in-network doctors
Health insurers, including Blue Cross of Idaho, negotiate with providers and healthcare facilities for discounted fees. These providers make up the health plan’s network.
When you visit an in-network provider, you usually pay a lower copayment, lower deductible and lower coinsurance (depending on your plan). Visiting an out-of-network provider can cost you more.
Use generic drugs
Generic drugs, on average, cost one-third less than brand-name drugs but use the same active ingredients and have the same therapeutic benefit. In addition, many pharmacies offer generic discount programs that could save you money.
The cost of these programs varies by pharmacy, but it's worth it to find out if your pharmacy's generic discount program will cost you less than your health plan’s generic medication copayment. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if generic drugs are available for the brand-name drugs you take.
Ask your doctor if a recommended service is absolutely necessary
Become an active participant in your healthcare and ask questions about all the services your physician recommends, including radiological services, hospital stays, lab tests, medications and anything else. Talk to your doctor and find out if a procedure is absolutely necessary.
You could lower your healthcare costs by eliminating a needless test or procedure. That decision needs to happen in partnership with your doctor, but by asking, you could save money. If your doctor says you can schedule a specific procedure or service at a later time, then it's in your best interest to shop around to find the lowest cost.
Take care of yourself and stay healthy
A great way to save money on your healthcare is to stay healthy. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat properly, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight and don’t use tobacco.
According to the American Medical Association, 25 cents of every healthcare dollar goes to treat diseases or disabilities that result from changeable behaviors.
Go to the emergency room ONLY for emergencies
You will save money when you visit an in-network provider or walk-in clinic for routine ailments such as sore throats, colds, flu, earaches, minor back pain, and tension headaches.
Before you go to a hospital emergency room, ask yourself: "Am I going to the emergency room because I have an emergency or because it is open and I don't need an appointment?"
Follow your doctor's instructions
Visiting the doctor is important and you'll get the most out of your visit if you follow through on prescribed treatments and instructions.
After a visit, follow your doctor's instructions and treatment advice and take any medications exactly as prescribed.
Check your EOBs to make sure they only include services you've received
Carefully review the explanation of benefits (EOB) forms from your insurer to make sure they only include procedures and services you received. Call your health insurer if you find a mistake.
Follow preventive guidelines
Keep yourself healthy and save money on health expenses over time by following preventive guidelines for regular checkups, immunizations and tests (Pap smear, fecal occult blood, rubella, PKU, PSA and cholesterol).
Many insurance plans have preventive care benefits for these services, which may mean you pay nothing, including no deductible or coinsurance, out of your pocket for the first several hundred dollars of preventive care. For example, if you have a Blue Cross of Idaho $500 preventive care benefit, you pay nothing for your first $500 of preventive care.
Use and get the most out of your flexible spending account
If your employer sponsors a flexible spending account, use it. With a flexible spending account, you choose to have pretax dollars deducted from your paycheck for out-of-pocket medical costs.
Most people don't realize all that a flexible spending account could cover, including prescription drugs, health insurance deductibles and copayments, acupuncture, eyeglasses, contact lenses, laser eye surgery, some over-the-counter drugs (allergy medications, cold medicines), crutches, bandages and dental care, including orthodontics.
Take advantage of online tools and resources
You can save by using online cost comparison and health analysis resources available on the Internet. Blue Cross of Idaho members can keep tabs on their health with six online health assessments - health & well-being, sleep, stress management, nutrition, fitness & physical activity, and back and joint health.
Each assessment asks questions about health and behavior, then provides useful information and guidance tailored to a member's specific health goals. Awareness of your health and well-being helps you stay healthy, and staying healthy saves you healthcare dollars.