If you don’t have health insurance, you aren’t alone—the Transamerica Center for Health Studies has reported that as of 2014, approximately 15 percent of the American population was uninsured. Even with health insurance, some medical procedures and treatments may not be covered, or they may not be covered completely. Whether or not you’re insured, some of the following are ways you can cut down on healthcare costs:
Many people are faced with medical debt at one point or another, even if they have healthcare coverage. If you need treatment that you can’t afford, find a doctor’s office that is willing to work with you. Many medical offices will work out payment plans with their patients, and these smaller payments can help make medical treatment more affordable.
Opt for generic prescriptions
The majority of expensive prescription drugs can be substituted with generics. Unless specifically instructed by your doctor, opt for the generic brands if you’re looking to save money. The ingredients are identical, so you won’t be sacrificing quality—but you’ll pay a lot less.
Get routine checkups
Even if you need to pay for them out-of-pocket, routine checkups are often much less expensive than other types of medical visits. Routine checkups can help uncover any underlying conditions or issues, and could possibly prevent them from turning into something more serious and expensive to treat. Not only can these checkups save you a lot of money in costly treatments later on, but they can potentially save your life.
Check for medical bill errors
Before you pay your next medical bill, be sure to carefully go through it and make sure everything seems okay. It’s common for medical bills to contain errors, and while unintentional most of the time, these errors can be costing you extra. From incorrectly billing your insurance company to billing for the same procedure multiple times, it’s worth taking the time to determine what exactly you’re being billed for.
If you have health insurance, make sure that all doctors and specialists you see are within your network. If you see a doctor who is not part of your network, your insurance won’t cover any part of the visit and you’ll need to pay for it out-of-pocket. If you’re getting a specialist referral from your primary physician, make sure to ask for a doctor who is within your network.
Diagnostic testing can vary greatly from one medical center to another. Before visiting the closest facility near your home or one that is recommended by your doctor, be sure to call around first and compare pricing. For example, one place might charge $1,200 for an MRI, whereas a similar facility nearby might offer the same test at half the cost. It’s not uncommon to see such variations, so be sure to ask around.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, legal, or tax advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.