Ways To Avoid Surprise Medical Bills And Save Money
Everyone in the world gets sick. That just happens to be part of being human. One of the things that just happen to be part of the ‘modern world’ is the obligation of paying medical bills. While many countries benefit from universal healthcare systems, there’s something to be said about how far behind we are.
If you’re looking to cut back on your medical expenses, here are a few ways you might be able to do it:
1. Be Proactive with Preventative Care
Can you remember the calendar date of the last time you saw any sort of doctor? If you’re worried about anything regarding your own health, make an appointment with your primary care provider as soon as possible.
Under many healthcare plans blood pressure tests, colon screenings, and skin checks are covered completely. Take advantage of that and possibly catch an illness before it affects your health at an extreme level.
If you are reluctant to see a doctor, you can always call a nurse line or talk to a physician through MDLive about possible symptoms you’re having. Based on their advice and professional background, you can decide whether to see a doctor or simply grab medicine on your way past the drug store.
2. Stay In-Network
A few months back I was looking for a dentist to have a look at my teeth. Going by some random commercial I saw on television, I thought “Why not? Some part of that’s free, so it must be affordable.” The only part of the whole thing that was free was the exam. Because it was not in my network, the extraction I required would have been $450.
The majority of doctors at in-network hospitals should be fine, but make sure to save up cash for any referral that takes you out of network care.
If any unforeseen medical bills arise because of such an occurrence, speak with your insurance company about the bill and how it may be paid.
3. Comparison Shop
Even with some of the best healthcare available, insurance will not always cover the expense of a procedure or specific blood test. For example, as with the above-mentioned dilemma with getting my teeth taken care of.
No more than a 5-minute walk down the street was a dentist that was covered under my insurance. The only thing I had to pay out of pocket was for anything cosmetic.
When it comes to lab tests, my immediate and extended family are most familiar with the independent lab Quest Diagnostics.
Make sure anything like MRIs, CAT scans, and X-rays are covered and not so expensive. If you can, shop around for a place that might not ask so much of you and your insurance.
4. Ask for an Estimate
There’s no telling what your medical treatment will cost. Simply choosing a different place to go may save you hundreds of dollars and an unexpected co-pay you weren’t prepared for.
Sometimes it’s better to have your procedure done at an outpatient center than a hospital. There are many health plans that have online sides which allow individuals to calculate the cost of treatments well before seeing a doctor.
5. Switch to Generics
My family has always been one to buy name-brand medicine when we had the chance and the cash to do so. The problem with that was how little it left for other things we might end up needing. And according to the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, there’s no need to break the bank when generic medicine is just as effective as “top-shelf” products.
When a doctor asks if you want name brand drugs or generic, always ask if the generic form is available to you.
6. Double Check Your Medical Bill
Always go through your release papers after being discharged from a clinic or hospital. When I accompanied my wife to an urgent care, the appointment alone cost $70. And after a car accident, I had to figure out a way to pay back $500 in medical bills because my policy was active AFTER I was discharged.
You might also take notice of discrepancies that may involve procedures you never had or medicine you were never given.
7. Don’t Rely on The Provider Directory
This is one lesson I learned after a long headache-inducing search for an ophthalmologist. Names located in your insurance provider’s directory typically provide places covered by your plan. In some cases, the names may be there by mistake.
When I called to search for an eye doctor, the provider directory showed a number that led me to call that city’s water department. Verify that the phone number and address are exactly what should be there before making any decision to look for the place.