Health Care Costs – How to Trim From your Budget without Sacrificing Health
Saving money on health care sometimes seems to be a losing battle, especially when it comes to legislation and policies that don’t do much to help actual, typical families. If you are looking for a few ways to trim excessive funding from your health care bills, take the issue into your own hands and treat your family’s health care like a business – a business that needs to watch its budget.
Shop Around for Plans – Don’t take the first plan that is offered to you, as first is definitely not always best. Assess your personal family needs to make the best decision, especially if your company offers a “one size fits all” type of insurance but your spouse’s plan is more al la carte. Don’t make a decision about your health care plan until you make a list of things that will impact your health care costs.
- How many times on average does each family member visit the doctor’s office each year?
- Does anyone in the family have a medical condition that requires regular care?
- How many routine prescriptions do we have?
- What types of medical expenses do we anticipate? (birth of a baby, braces for your teen, etc.)
Consider Extra Insurance Plans – Maybe your current program is great for regular doctor visits, but doesn’t cover dental exams. Look into plans that have discount cards specifically for things like dental visits (there are vision plans as well). Usually these require monthly membership fees, and then you pay a portion at each visit.
Use the Extras Your Plan Offers – Believe it or not, many insurance companies offer extra little perks. These extra services range from call centers where you can speak with nurses 24/7 in order to determine what type of medical course of action you might need, to literature provided on various medical conditions. Sometimes you can even get things for free, such as peak flow meters for kids with asthma. Some insurance companies even offer discounts on gym memberships or prize and cash incentives for things like quitting smoking, losing weight, and choosing healthier lifestyle options.
Go to the Doctor – Usually people see this as something that only takes out more of the family funds, but maintaining regular health check-ups for you and your kids can save you money in the long run. Many insurance plans cover at least one physical each year, and these can help your doctor monitor you for changes and catch any before they become bigger than necessary.
Always Review Your Medical Bills – Medical bills and statements are created based on codes the doctor enters in his or her notes, and these codes are then transferred to billing. Check to make sure that your insurance company had thorough review of the claim, and that all of the correct information was supplied.
Make the Most of Your Appointments – When you visit your doctor, make sure you speak up about each thing that concerns you (but discuss the top 2-3 first). Openly talk with your doctor about less expensive testing options that might be available, and request medication samples when prescriptions are given – if your child has an ear infection, ask the doctor if he has any samples he can provide. Drug reps have their second homes in the offices of doctors and are constantly supplying them with samples to use in promotions.
Save on Prescriptions – Shop around for pharmacies that are covered by your insurance plan and also offer generic substitutions for your medications (when approved by your doctor). Look for coupons that pharmacies regularly advertise, such as “Fill a prescription with us and receive a $10 gift card” – even if it is just a one-time prescription you need.