The cost of medical care is on the rise in the US yet again.
Year over year, the amount that Americans have to pay for treatment increases without any end in sight.
No wonder the healthcare industry is estimated to be worth a whopping 3.3 trillion (with a T!) dollars.
With the average cost of healthcare in America sitting at around $1,500 annually, families are wondering what they can do to save money on healthcare.
Stocking up on Bandaids and consulting DIY surgery videos on YouTube aren’t great long-term options.
If you want to find out how to make a real dent in the cost of healthcare, check out our nine easy ways to save!
Internet Info Can Save You A Trip To The Doctor
Who hasn’t fallen down a Web MD rabbit hole, growing increasingly certain their weird shaped thumb is actually cancer in disguise?
While that might be a fun activity on a slow Sunday afternoon, the only thing you’re going to accomplish is raising your heart rate, a real medical concern.
Learn to use the internet judiciously to sort out your symptoms and you might keep the doctor at bay for another day.
It goes without saying that if the situation is serious, call 911 and get to an emergency room.
If you’ve just a bit under the weather, you can use Google to determine if your sore throat is from a common cold or strep.
Learning to tell the difference between appendicitis and the side effects of eating at that shady taco place can mean more money in your pocket.
Choose The Best Place To Go
While having a primary care physician is best, you might be able to get similar care for cheaper at another place.
This is especially true if you’re handling something simple, like the flu.
Check out your local community center, urgent care center or a pharmacy clinic to save money on health care.
Most of these places can do the same basic medical care that your general practitioner can at a reduced rate.
Make a few phone calls and do some internet sleuthing to see what your area offers.
Don’t wait till there’s a serious problem – be proactive and investigate all of the options available to you.
Check up on the prices of services you might need in the future. Find out what in-network providers charge for healthcare.
For example, an insurance agency might allow a price variation for an MRI to be between two set prices, let’s say $500 to $3,000.
By knowing how much your local providers charge, you’ll be prepared if you ever need to use it.
Another example is the cost of medication, and with almost half of the population taking at least one prescription medicine within the last 30 days, it’s a biggie.
Check out what local pharmacies charge to pick up your prescriptions.
Sometimes it’s the difference of a few bucks, and other times it can be tens of dollars.
If you need to save money on healthcare, this extra bit of research is worth it.
Make Every Test Count
If you really need to save money on healthcare, you’re going to have to speak up.
This can be tough if we’re shy, and let’s face it, who wants to question a doctor?
But asking “is this necessary?” might keep those dollars in your bank account.
A great example of this is the use of antibiotics for the common cold.
A regular cold is caused by a virus, which doesn’t respond to antibiotics, yet they’re routinely prescribed.
It’s better to just claim the couch for your own and binge on Netflix till the symptoms subside.
Stopping to ask questions is worth it in the long run.
Switch To Generics
The FDA has strict rules regarding what goes into generic medication.
Generic medicine has to have essentially the same ingredients, work the same way as name brand and has to be taken the same way.
Even after all this, generic medicine can cost 30-80% less than name brand.
This extends to over the counter medicine, too.
It’s safe to say that the store brand version of your favorite national brand medicine works exactly the same.
With savings like that, there’s basically no reason to stick to name brand prescriptions.
Make The Most Of Your Medicine
Here’s a little known tip for saving money on healthcare: Discuss pill splitting with your doctor.
Pill splitting is when the cost of a higher dose of a pill, say a 20 mg pill, costs as much as a 10 mg pill, and you cut the 20 mg pill in half.
That way you can spend the same amount but get more medicine for your money.
Don’t assume you know which pills can be split. Not all medicine can be cut so easily.
That’s why it’s best to talk to your doctor about it and find out if you can apply this technique to your prescriptions.
Scrutinize Your Bills
Healthcare billing is a large industry and as such, some things fall through the cracks.
When you get your bill, make sure to look it over thoroughly.
There might be mistakes that otherwise you wouldn’t catch.
For example, if something is usually covered but they forgot to deduct it from the bill, if you weren’t paying attention you would’ve ended up paying for it.
The Best Way To Save Money On Healthcare: Prevention
The best way to keep from shelling out for expensive treatments? Don’t get sick!
Ok, that’s pretty much impossible for us mere mortals, but by practicing preventative care, you can minimize your chances of having to see a doctor.
Little things over time can really add up, too.
Preventative care involves the usual suspects: eat fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep every night and get some exercise.
Save With Free Prescription Cards
Did you know there’s a program that’s totally free to use and can save you up to 80% on your healthcare costs?
Prescription cards are an increasingly popular way to save money on healthcare.
Bonus: you can even print the card right at home and start saving immediately.
Prescription-Cards.com negotiates with the pharmaceutical companies to get you the best deal on your medications.
There’s really no better way to slash a huge percentage of your medical bills.