Ten Tips for Slashing Your Medical Bills

We all want to save money on medical costs, right? Even with the right insurance, there are deductibles and co-payments. Anything that can keep the actual costs of service down is a good thing.

Here's 10 common sense ways to keep your costs as low as possible, while making sure you and yours stay healthy.

  1. Prevent rather than treat.

    Weve all heard, Prevention is the best cure. And it is! One of the most effective ways to keep your costs of health care down is to take up and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes: maintaining / attaining a healthy weight; exercising regularly; kicking any unhealthy habit's like smoking; having regular checkups to catch any problems early and taking advantage of any wellness programs provided through your work or local community center.

  1. Shop around for your health insurance.

    Nothing could be more basic than this. Insurance companies will charge different rates for coverage, based on their own claims experience. If you shop around, you may find a company that will give you a much better rate, because they have had less exposure to claims. Be sure to check quotes and coverage carefully though. The cheapest is not always the best. Understand the options that are important to you and check to see if each plan has these options. Also pay attention to deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance because even small amounts of money spent on these can add up over time.

  2. Be sure to check your medical bills for accuracy.

    Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. This can happen when your health care provider bills you too. Check your bill to make sure that it is accurate, reflects what was done and takes into account your insurance coverage as it should. It is very easy for a wrong computer code to be entered accidentally. If you think you've found an error, get it corrected immediately. It will make the process of making any claims on your insurance much easier.

  3. Check out your spouses insurance and consider joining it!

    In some cases, you can save some money by both being on one plan. However, before joining a spouses plan, be sure to compare coverage and options. Also keep in mind that most plans only allow you to add a spouse within a certain time period after getting married. Otherwise, you may end up having to wait for an annual open enrolment period.

  4. Deduct medical expenses on your taxes, whenever possible.

    If you are going to take advantage of any tax deductions you can, you'll have to keep track of your receipts and reimbursements. If your total medical expenses exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, you could qualify for a tax deduction. And wed all like to save money on our taxes, right? Allowable expenses include everything from health care services to various medical aids like eyeglasses. Keep track of them if there is any chance you could qualify to deduct them.

  5. Try negotiating a discount with your health care provider.

    We don't normally think of getting discounts when we go to the doctor. However, it doesn't hurt to ask, whether it is your doctor, your hospital or your pharmacy. It helps if before you do this, you research what other health-care providers are charging. You can also go for the tried and true option of asking for a discount if you pay cash. Many professionals will at least consider this, given that it ensures them that their fee is paid.

  6. Contribute to a flexible spending account with your employer.

    This is a great way to save money on your health care! Your employer can set a flexible spending account up where you can put pre-tax dollars. It reduces your income tax up-front and these dollars are then put aside only for medical expenses. You can be reimbursed for prescription drugs, dental care and co-payments. Basically, anything that you pay out of pocket.

  7. Take advantage of free services whenever possible.

    Most communities have clinics that may offer free health screenings as part of their services to the community. Local clinics and hospitals often provide a variety of these, including blood pressure, cholesterol and even mammograms. They may be advertised on your local radio station or local newspaper.

  8. Understand your health insurance coverage.

    You might be surprised to find out that your insurance covers more than you think! In addition, preventative benefit's may also be part of your coverage. This could include discounts on vitamins, alternative medicines, health club memberships or safety equipment like bike helmets. You may even have some level of coverage for such things as chiropractic care or acupuncture! Check your benefit's carefully and take advantage of alternative or preventative care for yourself and your family.

  9. Check for discounts on your prescription drugs.

    If you take prescription drugs regularly, a discount could mean a lot of money in your pocket. And the ways you could save are many! For example, you could try ordering your drugs via the internet. You may also be able to get discounts for larger quantities. In some cases, a 3-month supply could cost you much less than getting 1-month supply at a time. You save the extra dispensing fees when you get more than one refill at a time. You can also ask about less expensive generic versions of the same name-brand drug that you take.

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