Did you know medical bills are the leading causing of personal bankruptcies in the United States?
As recently as 2014, about 40 percent of people in the U.S. went into debt as a result of medical bills. You’d think that these people had no insurance, but you’d be wrong. In 2016, 20 percent of Americans with health insurance still had trouble settling their medical bills.
With that in mind, knowing how to keep your medical bills low can make all the difference. Don’t wait to get ill then start finding ways to reduce the bill.
Keep reading to know how to get proper healthier while ensuring your pockets don’t run dry.
1. Prevention Is Better Than Cure
This adage couldn’t be more fitting.
It’s simple, really. If you don’t want to spend time in physicians’ consultation rooms or operating tables, take steps to prevent diseases.
Sure, ill health is almost as certain as taxes and death, because there are conditions out of control that can lead to illness. This, however, doesn’t mean you relinquish your health to fate.
Hit the paths every morning. Break some sweat in the gym. Eat healthily. Don’t skimp on regular health checkups, for it’s far easier and cheaper to treat a disease during its onset.
2. Choose Your Healthcare Providers with Cost in Mind
Healthcare facilities come in all shapes and sizes, from premium facilities charging top dollar for a simple procedure to community clinics offering affordable services. In between, there are thousands of mid-range facilities.
There is nothing wrong with that. If you can comfortably afford to get treatment at a pricey facility, by all means, do it. After all, they have a reputation for offering the best patient care.
However, if medical bills are a constant worry to you, it’s not a savvy financial decision to choose a costly facility.
Yet, it’s so easy to make this mistake when you have insurance coverage. The policy will take care of the cost, right? What most people don’t factor in is the future. If a health problem keeps recurring, your insurance will quickly run out, and you’ll be forced to pay out of pocket.
The lesson here is to be wise with your choice of health facilities. There are many low to mid-cost facilities that offer top quality patient care.
3. Ask for Discounts
Don’t stop at choosing a healthy facility that fits your financial needs. Go further and ask for discounts before receiving treatment.
Many facilities are often willing to offer small discounts here and there – but only when you ask. The discounts might seem trivial, but over the course of multiple visits, you’ll save good money.
In addition to asking for discounts, ask your physicians about various treatment options. Sometimes patients undergo costly treatments while there are cheaper options that yield similar results.
4. Reduce Prescription Drug Costs
About 55 percent of Americans take prescriptions drugs regularly.
If you’re among them, you certainly know how quickly prescription drug costs can rack up. The goods news is it’s possible to pay less than what you’re currently spending.
The biggest money-saving strategy is to go for generic drugs instead of brand-name drugs. According to the Food and Drug Administration, generic drugs are created to work as brand-name drugs and are approved by the agency. They are also cheaper.
Another strategy is to buy your drugs from big-box pharmacies. Large pharmacies can acquire drugs directly from manufacturers, and when they buy in bulk quantities, they get attractive price cuts. This is why they can sell drugs at lower prices.
As always, don’t forget to ask for discounts when buying your prescription drugs. And enquire whether the pharmacy offers other incentives, such as a loyalty program. Sign up and start accumulating points, which you can redeem after some time.
5. Scrutinize Your Medical Bills for Errors
Medical billing errors are widespread.
An article published by Fox News Health has Sat Palmer, founder of Medical Recovery Service and Medical Billing Advocates of America, saying that 8 in 10 health insurance claims are erroneous.
If you have never been a victim of an erroneous bill, it’s natural to forego checking your statements for errors. Many unsuspecting patients don’t expect healthcare facilities can engage in exploitative and fraudulent practices.
This is your wakeup call.
Make it a habit of studying all your medical bills. Some common billing errors to look out for include upcoding, unbundling, balance billing, duplicate billing, and incorrect patient information.
If you find any errors or billing information you don’t understand, seek a clarification from the facility’s billing staff. There are also professional bill reviewers out there who will help you catch any errors – at a fee, though.
6. Get a Customized Health Insurance Plan
These days, health insurance companies are willing to personalize insurance policies according to a client’s needs.
Getting a customized plan is a money-saving move because your premiums and benefits are highly tailored to both your health and financial needs. There is no value in paying pricey premiums for policies offering benefits you won’t need to claim.
7. Save Money for Your Health
When you enjoy long periods of good health, you might see no need for building a savings account for your health. Then an illness strikes and you’re caught unawares. It’s not uncommon for people to borrow from friends and family or take out emergency bank loans to settle medical bills. That’s how you slide into debt.
Start putting some money aside for your health.
Keep Your Medical Bills Low
Health problems are part and parcel of life. We cannot wish away this fact. What we can control, though, is our medical bills.
When you put the tips fleshed out in this article to practice, you could shave off hundreds or a couple of thousands from your annual health bill.
As you do that, keep tabs on our financial guides for more insights.