With health-care costs on the rise, you may be looking for ways to lower your medical expenses. Here are 10 ideas:
1. Practice prevention
2. Shop around for health insurance
3. Cut the cost of prescription drugs
4. Check your medical bills
5. Join your spouse’s health plan
6. Keep track of your medical expenses
7. Negotiate a discount with your health-care provider
8. Contribute to a flexible spending account
9. Take advantage of free health screenings
10. Get to know your health insurance
As basic as it sounds, one of the most effective ways to lower your medical expenses over time is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For example, you can:
Shop around for health insurance
If you don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance, you may be looking to obtain coverage on your own. To get good coverage at an affordable price, shop around. Because premiums vary widely, you’ll probably save money if you get quotes from several companies. Evaluate each plan’s coverage and features, taking into account exclusions, limitations, and the freedom to choose health-care providers, among other things. Also find out how much you’ll end up paying out of pocket in the form of co-payments, coinsurance, and deductibles, because even relatively small amounts of money can really add up if you make frequent visits to your doctor.
Cut the cost of prescription drugs
Prescription costs can eat up a large portion of your budget if you take prescription drugs regularly. Fortunately, it’s not hard to find ways to save money. For example, try ordering your prescriptions through the mail, using a traditional or online pharmacy. If you belong to a prescription drug plan (e.g. through your health insurance), you may be able to get a three-month supply of your prescription drug through the mail for the same price you would pay for a one-month supply at your neighborhood pharmacy. You can also ask your pharmacist or doctor to recommend a less-expensive generic drug whenever possible.
Check your medical bills
Medical bills are often confusing to read. However, taking a few minutes to go over the charges may save you money in the long run. Check to make sure that the bill accurately reflects the procedures you have undergone and takes into account any applicable insurance coverage you may have. Some errors, such as wrong computer codes, are common, and you may be billed for health care you never received. Contact the appropriate billing office if you think you’ve found a mistake. If you’ve received an explanation of benefits from your insurance company that you believe is wrong, ask the company to review your claim.
Join your spouse’s health plan
Many married couples maintain separate health insurance coverage even though it may not be cost effective to do so. Examine both your coverage and your spouse’s coverage to see if it makes sense for either of you to join the other’s plan. Keep in mind that most plans allow you to add a spouse to your plan within a certain time period after you get married (e.g. 30 days). Otherwise, you may have to wait for the plans’ annual open enrollment period.
Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline. http://www.insurance.com/article.aspx/Top_10_Ways_to_Cut_Your_Medical_Bills/artid/24
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