While health care is very important, there is no denying it can also be expensive. Even basic procedures can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. The more complex the procedure, the more you end up paying. Health insurance does help to cut down on many costs, but even with insurance, you can end up paying for many medical costs out of pocket.
Even the best health insurance plans come with premiums and copayments, which can still end up being expensive depending on the medical procedure. If you have a family, there are even more concerns since you have to consider their medical needs on top of your own.
It may seem like the solution is to reduce visits to doctors or other measures, but this is ill advised. Most of the time, when people try to cut corners with their health care, they ultimately end up paying more at a later date when their condition worsens. Fortunately, you can cut down on your medical costs without having to sacrifice the quality of the care. More information about saving money on health care costs is covered below.
How to Save on Dental Costs
One of the health care expenses that catches many people off guard is dental costs. Dental cleanings on their own may not seem very expensive, but many other services are incredibly expensive. It is not uncommon to be charged several thousand dollars for dental services. Another reason dental costs are particularly difficult to pay is due to insurance coverage. Some basic insurance plans will not provide dental coverage, meaning you must pay all the expenses out of pocket. As a result, one of the simplest ways to save money on dental costs is to purchase dental insurance. If your work insurance offers dental, consider switching your current insurance plan to get the benefits.
Not everyone is able to switch insurance plans just to receive dental coverage. However, there are dental discount plans available. Dental discount plans are very similar to dental insurance. They do not cover as much as dental insurance, but they are not nearly as expensive, and you only have to pay for the plan once a year.
Some employers offer a flexible spending account, which allows you to use pretax dollars to assist with any out of pocket medical costs. This is a very involved process, and it is best to consult with an accountant before committing to any costs. If you do not use this money by the end of the year, you will no longer have it. Another potential way to save money is to go through dental schools. At a dental school, dental students perform the procedures, but they always have a licensed dentist supervising them. Finally, you should speak to your dentist about scheduling the procedures at different times. If you space out your procedures, you may be able to time it so your insurance covers more of the costs.
Remote Medical Consultations
Remote medical consultations, sometimes referred to as telemedical consultations, are not a new service. However, they have been receiving more and more attention thanks to advances in technology. Before the internet, remote medical consultations were very limited. Now, physicians can easily transfer medical information and test results. In addition, you can arrange for a video conversation with your consultant. Even if you are not in the same room, physically being able to see you makes it much easier to be diagnosed from a remote location.
Remote medical consultations are significantly less expensive than visiting a doctor in person. If you are unsure if something is wrong with you, it may be more beneficial to speak with a remote medical consultant first to see if it is worth spending the money to visit a doctor in person. For serious medical conditions, you will always have to visit your doctor in person for treatment.
Negotiating Medical Bills
One of the simplest ways to cut down on medical costs is simply speaking with your medical provider. Doctors are very accustomed to patients negotiating medical bills. Doctors are aware of how expensive medical procedures can be. Doctors also do not want their patients to feel afraid to be honest or seek help with their medical conditions because of how pricey it can be. One of the best ways to save money is to be as upfront as possible with your doctor concerning your financial needs. Many doctors are willing to set up payment plans, so you are not overwhelmed with a huge medical bill you have no chance of paying all at once.
Negotiating medical bills is much easier if you understand everything you are being charged for. Before a procedure, ask your doctor to provide written instructions and a list of all the charges. If something seems like it is too expensive or potentially unnecessary, talk to your doctor about either removing it or replacing it with something less expensive. Remember, it is important to be firm, but still polite while you are negotiating your medical bill.
Another way to save money is through insurance discounts. If you have insurance discounts, always bring them up to your doctor. Even if you do not initially qualify for a discount, there may be changes your doctor can make to the procedure or prescriptions that will help you financially. For example, if your insurance only covers specific pharmaceutical costs, your doctor may prescribe a different medication that has the same effects as the original prescription but is covered by your insurance.
A common way to save money through your health insurance is to understand the difference between in-network and out-of-network providers. Many insurance plans have specific networks that are covered. If you visit a doctor outside of these networks, you will still have limited coverage, but ultimately end up paying much more out of pocket. Finding doctors to someone who is in your insurance network is a great way to save money.
Finally, make sure you report any income changes to your insurance provider. Depending on your income level, you may have access to premium tax credits. These tax credits reduce how much you spend on health insurance.