The cost of health care in America is a major financial concern.
Story: BE Conrad
It is no secret that the cost of health care has risen sharply in recent years. While many people hoped the passage of the Affordable Care Act would lower premiums and expand coverage, the reality is a lot more complicated. Politicians argue over improvement to Obamacare and pundits debate the merits of various plans; however, many consumers are stuck in the middle, struggling to pay the high cost of health care and wondering how to make ends meet.
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Whether you get your health insurance from your employer or buy a plan on your own, the cost of health care is not going down. If you want to make your limited dollars stretch as far as possible, it’s imperative to look for creative solutions to the high cost of coverage and care.
Here are six smart ways to reduce your health-care expenses without giving up the coverage you need:
1. Take advantage of free pharmacy consultations. Pharmacists are highly trained professionals, and they have a wealth of information to share. Consultations with your local pharmacist are free, but the advice you receive could be priceless.
2. Seek expert help to reduce high medical bills. If you get stuck with high medical bills from a lack of insurance or other reason, you may not have to pay the full amount. There are billing experts who help consumers understand, and possibly lower, those enormous hospital and doctor bills.
3. Be smart about deductible schedules. If you have met your deductible for the year, scheduling an elective procedure now could save you a lot of money. If you wait until the new year, you could find yourself on the wrong end of the deductible calendar. Now’s the time to do screenings and tests you may have put off due to cost.
4. Seek up-front approval for out-of-network care. If you must go out of network for specialty care, always seek payment approval first. Get that approval in writing, make careful notes of who you speak to, and verify your coverage before your scheduled appointment.
5. Take advantage of the open enrollment period. Whether you get your health insurance through your employer, through Medicare, or on your own, the open enrollment period allows you to make changes and seek lower costs. Take advantage of this annual period to get the coverage you need at the lowest possible price.
6. Consider paying cash for generic drugs. In some cases, the cash price of your generic drugs could be less than the cost of your deductible, so always ask about the cash price when filling your prescriptions.
With the cost of health care stuck on an upward trajectory, ordinary consumers need to look for new ways to save. You do not have to surrender to high health-care expenses. There are proactive steps you can take to reduce those costs and keep more money in your pocket.
About the writer
BE Conrad is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Healthy Living. She also is an IT specialist in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.