Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How to Save on Healthcare Costs

The cost of staying healthy is staggering in the United States. According to the Department of Labor, the average household spends over $3,000 per year in healthcare costs. For those struggling with a chronic or ongoing illness, that number is undoubtedly conservative. When the cost of self-maintenance stands to drain at least 6% of your income, what is the solution? Take a look at the tips below to learn some cost-cutting strategies. Saving money means taking on less stress, a valuable and healthy commodity.
  • Utilize your network. Insurance coverage is an invaluable resource, one that only works if you use it. Ask your provider for a list of physicians covered under your plan. Venturing outside the approved network could mean paying the total cost of your last doctor’s visit.
  • Find the best doctor. Not all physicians are created equal. In fact, choosing the wrong doctor could result in a repeat trip with another co-pay attached. Make the most of your money by doing some research before booking an appointment. Look up your doctor’s credentials, patient satisfaction rates, etc. Why waste time and money? Visit a good doctor the first time around.
  • Assess the necessary level of care. A little cough is no reason to run to the emergency room. It’s also no reason to pay more for qualified care. Before escalating the situation, determine the kind of care you need. For example, did your son break his ankle or merely sprain it? A trip to urgent care is probably best. Many of these facilities come equipped with x-ray machines and other devices not found in your average doctor’s office. A bonus: they can provide the answers you need at a cheaper co-pay rate. “Expensive” doesn’t always mean “necessary.” Practice some prudence before racing to the ER.
  • Ask for generic drugs. Prescription drugs can have a debilitating effect on your budget, especially if name-brand pills are filling your bottle. Drug companies charge an inflated rate for their products, a price that has little to no bearing on their effectiveness. Why foot the bill for an arbitrary mark-up? Ask your pharmacist for a generic form of your medication. Getting healthy should never induce stress.
  • Seek preventative care. Like any problem, spotting the early symptoms is the fastest way to solving it. The same is true for your health. Schedule regular check-ups and applicable screenings to ensure the best care possible. Illness is expensive, but cost is often proportional to the level of urgency. Don’t put your medical and financial well-being on the backburner.
  • Change your lifestyle. Speaking of preventive care, the time to change your lifestyle is now. Do your part to stay healthy by kicking bad habits like smoking, eating junk food, etc. Start exercising for at least 30 minutes per day and make an effort to get more sleep. Your immune system will respond to a healthy lifestyle. Be your own cost-cutting strategy by making health an everyday priority.
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This guest post was provided by Lexington Law, a credit repair firm that helps people address their credit score issues.

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