Each week I see a news story about the rising cost of health care, and the finger pointing comes from every end of the spectrum. Health care providers blame insurance companies for not offering enough comprehensive coverage to pay for services. Health insurance companies blame rising rates on the large pool of sick people they have to insure. Others blame the cost of care on politicians or policies currently in effect. I know for many of you, your health insurance cost goes up every year, and the cost health care expenditures have risen faster than inflation.
While there isn’t a simple answer to end the blame game, I’ve found there are steps you can take to lower your health care costs. The first tactic is to understand how your health insurance plan really works. Read up on how much you have to pay from your own wallet before you reach your deductible amount. Also find out if you have a copay for doctor office visits or if you have to pay for visits yourself until your deductible is reached. Once you have a good idea of how much you are financially responsible for in a given year, you can plan your savings strategy accordingly.
Skip The Waiting Room
Telemedicine is quickly becoming the most cost-effective way to save immediately on medical expenses. If you typically see a doctor several times a year or are a single-mom with children who get ear infections and colds, taking time off work to go to the doctor can cost you time and money. The average Urgent Care visit is $155. If you are responsible for all medical expenses until you hit your insurance deductible, that can add up to thousands of dollars a year. But by using telemedicine services, you get the same care either over the telephone or through video chat, at a greatly reduced cost. For a low monthly fee, organizations like HealthValues offer free and unlimited telemedicine services as part of its monthly membership. The doctors are U.S. board-certified physicians who give you as much time as you need because they don’t have a waiting room of sick patients. And they can call a prescription into your pharmacy of choice right after the appointment. It’s a great way to get personal care in less than half the time of a typical office visit.
Never Pay Full Price For Imagery Services
Hospitals used to be the only place you could get an X-ray, CT scan or MRI, which was the most expensive way to go. Today you can find imaging centers with top-of-the-line equipment that allow you to schedule an appointment and get in and out quickly. The hidden secret for saving money at these imaging centers? They are willing to negotiate price to get their time slots filled. Like price-shopping for hotels on Kayak or Expedia, imaging centers want to fill rooms just like a hotel wants to fill beds. Instead of paying $1,700 retail for an MRI, you can get a high-quality scan for as little as $450 if you negotiate in advance of the procedure.
Cover The Gaps In Your Plan
Your health insurance plan is no longer enough. Deductibles, copays and coinsurance leave big holes in your budget. If you have an accident or suddenly get sick and have to take time off of work, do you have enough money in savings to cover your medical bills or the mortgage? Today more and more savvy shoppers are getting supplemental insurance as “insurance for their insurance” to cover their medical deductible and other bills. Supplemental insurance starts at about $1 a day and pays cash when the unexpected “uh oh” occurs. In addition to free and discounted medical services, HealthValues offers supplemental insurance that serves as a backup to your major medical insurance plan.
Find out how HealthValues can help you save on your everyday health care expenses, and pay cash when life throws you those unexpected medical curve balls.