The cost of medical care has been rising faster than inflation for years, making it difficult for many people to keep up with the increased costs. Medical debt has been cited as the reason for thousands of bankruptcies across the nation. In an age of high-deductible and consumer-directed health plans, every decision counts. You will want to ensure you are making the right ones. Here are six tips that will help you save on medical bills.
Fund A Health Savings Account
Health savings accounts allow you to make deposits tax-free, let them grow tax-free, and withdraw money tax-free and there is no deadline for spending the money. This money can be used to cover deductibles and other medical costs, which can be beneficial if you have a high-deductible health care plan. Some employers even offer matching funds for contributions. Contribution limits for 2016 are $3,350 for individuals and $6,750 for families.
Many people do not realize that they can compare costs for different health care services and health care providers by using transparency tools. These tools are offered by most large employers, but they can also be found online. A general rule of thumb is that procedures will be less expensive at outpatient or free-standing facilities than they would be at a hospital.
Take Advantage Of Employer Discounts
Taking advantage of employer discounts is another great way to save on medical bills. Many employers offer subsidized wellness programs that might help you manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, or stop smoking. You get to improve your health at a much lower cost than someone paying out of pocket for the same services.
Try A Telemedicine Consult Instead Of A Doctor’s Visit
Telemedicine consults for a minor medical issue can be conducted quickly over the phone. These consults are a part of many health plans and typically cost about $40, versus $100 or more for an office visit. The cost savings can be significant for those enrolled in a high-deductible health care plan.
Get Prescriptions For Less
There are many ways to get prescriptions for less than you may be currently paying. The easiest way to save on prescriptions is to choose a generic equivalent to the brand name drug you need. You can also compare costs across pharmacies to see who is offering the drug for the lowest price. If it is a medication you take frequently, see about purchasing it in bulk, as higher volumes often get steeper discounts.
Review Medical Bills Carefully
It is not uncommon to find errors on medical bills and some of these errors can cost you a great deal of money. Review all medical bills you receive carefully for mistakes and request an itemized bill if one has not been sent to you. If you find errors, immediately bring it to the attention of the billing department of the health care provider for investigation so you can get the charges removed.