Your health is extremely important, but with the rising cost of healthcare, going to the doctor can cost you more than a monthly utility payment. Because of these high costs, many people are forgoing the doctor, and this is coming back to haunt them. When you don’t go to the doctor, you put yourself at a higher risk of disease because there’s no way to catch it early enough or find a way to treat it. Instead of putting your health at risk to save a few bucks, use the following five tips to save money on healthcare.
- Take preventative steps.
When you take preventative measures for your health, you can forgo the high cost of healthcare. Thanks to the Affordable Car Act, any type of preventative medical procedure or visit is covered 100% by your insurance. This includes things like regular physicals, annual dental exams, and annual pap smears for women. By opting for these preventative methods, you are allowing your doctor to pay attention to your health. If anything seems off, this gives them the opportunity to catch any illnesses or diseases early enough to treat.
Besides taking preventative steps with your doctor, it’s important that you take preventative measures on your own. For example, start a diet and exercise program to fight obesity; quit smoking or excessive drinking in order to improve your health; make it a point to take the necessary medication; or do whatever you need to do to get healthy.
- Use in-network providers.
Group health insurance plans are meant to save you money on medical expenses. However, if you constantly see an out-of-network provider, you will not reap the benefits of having insurance. Make sure that you choose doctors who are in your network. Not only does this offer you a generous discount on medical care, but your insurance will also cover more of the cost. If you truly want to see your doctor bill balances dwindle, be sure to choose in-network providers every time.
- Ask for free samples or generic prescriptions.
Medication is expensive, and it can often cost more for a month supply of medication than actually seeing the doctor. If you need a medication that is expensive, talk with your doctor about your options. Some doctors may be willing to give you free samples of certain medications to help cut the cost. At the same time, you should also ask your doctor about generic options. Generic medications work the same as name brand medication, but they cost much less. Have your doctor write you a prescription for the generic version so that you can save money.
- Sign up for discount plans.
Some pharmacies offer special plans that can cut the cost of your prescriptions. Ask your pharmacy if they have any type of prescription discount program that you can sign up for that will help to cut the cost of your healthcare needs. Sometimes you may find that your pharmacy has a program that they simply don’t advertise.
- Shop around.
Most people make the mistake of choosing the closest pharmacy, and while this may be convenient, it’s not always the best option. Not all pharmacies offer the same pricing on medication. IN fact, you may find that a medication could cost you $10 at Walgreens, but only $4 at Walmart. Although $6 may not seem like a lot, it adds up to a $72 difference per year. If you need to fill a prescription, contact different pharmacies in your area and ask them what that medication would cost. They should be able to give you an accurate estimate, and you can use this information to ensure that you’re always saving money.
Besides local pharmacies, you should also consider using a mail-in prescription service. These programs will allow you to receive a three-month supply of your medication at a discounted rate. You can look for these services on your own, or you can contact your insurance company to see if they partner with a specific company for this service.
Saving money on healthcare can be done if you work at it. By using these tips, you’ll find that taking care of yourself isn’t as costly as it once was.