5 Tips To Control Your Healthcare Costs
With healthcare costs steadily increasing, it is important for us all to find ways to cut down on healthcare costs. Medical inflation has increased at 3 times the rate of overall inflation since 1960 (roughly 6% a year). With healthcare costs and thus health insurance premiums impacting our wages,
Here is a list of 5 simple tips to save money on your health insurance and medical costs.
Tip # 1 – Choose more affordable EPO or HMO plans for lower monthly premiums
One of the most common ways to save money on your health insurance premiums is by enrolling onto an HMO or EPO insurance carrier, limiting your provider network yet limiting your premium.
Tip #2 – Search for a primary care doctor which you feel comfortable with and trust
Finding a good primary doctor, which you feel comfortable with and you trust is very important for your overall health. In all health plans, you have the ability to switch primary doctors.
It is important that you start a relationship with your primary doctor. So that when you do not feel good, you can trust in his ability to know if this is something he can solve or a specialist needs to be referred too. Get your free annual wellness checkup once a year and keep your doctor in the know about your medical needs.
Preventative services help to detect medical problems at an early stage, so that with early intervention chronical illness can be avoided. About 85 % of all doctor visits can be treated by primary doctors. Visiting a specialist is more expansive.
Tip #3 – Utilize telemedicine services
With telemedicine services either free or at a low copay for most insurance carriers, you can save money by avoiding taking a trip to your primary doctor by calling a doctor on call, either over the phone or via video chat. This can save you from your regular doctor visit copay.
If you have minor medical needs, you should give telemedicine a try and see if it works for you. Some people likes it for its convenience and low or no cost while others may prefer going to their primary doctor face to face to address issues.
Tip #4 – Avoid out-of-network providers
One of the biggest reasons for why PPO plans cost more is due to the fact that these plans cover out-of-network providers. Out-of-network providers do not negotiate rates with insurance carriers and thus can charge significantly more than an in-network provider.
On the other hand, the insurance carrier will pay not for the first $ 5000 of services as they apply on all metal plans an out-of-network service deductible of $ 5000 or higher. After you meet the deductible a 50% co-insurance for your out-of-network services will be applied. However, the insurance carrier will only pay the usual and customary rate in the region or the in-network rate, which leaves you with the obligation to pay the balance to the doctor.
For example, an orthopedic doctor wants to charge $ 800 for a visit, but the insurance carrier pays normally $ 250 for the service. Then with a 50 % co-insurance, you would receive $ 125 from the insurance carrier but would be liable for $ 675, a steep bill to pay next to the regular monthly health. If you need to see service with an out-of-network doctor you a better off to negotiate a cash price.
Tip #5 – Prescriptions
With prescription drugs, you should pay attention to your drug deductible for your health insurance plan. For your plan to cover your prescriptions, you must first meet your drug deductible. For chronical illness, you are best off to review the actual cost of each medication. If the prescription costs are high then the upper metal plan like Platinum and Gold might more sense then buying a Silver or Bronze plan.