If you've been looking for ways to save on medical expenses, you're not alone! The cost of office visits, prescriptions, and follow-up care can be overwhelming and disheartening – but there are several things you can do to lower your costs. Check out these 9 tips and tricks to save money on your medical bills!
Ways to Save on Medical Expenses
1. Be Honest With Your Doctor
It's normal to fear your upcoming medical costs before you ever leave the examination room. Rather than wondering and worrying if there's anything that can be done – have an honest chat with your doctor before you go. Ask if all the tests/procedures are necessary (especially if you have a high out of pocket deductible) and if there are any generics for the prescriptions he's writing. Sometimes there might even be an over-the-counter medicine that's equally effective.
Simply knowing you're in a bind might prompt your doctor to offer you options, or a helpful tip.
… and be sure to ask for SAMPLES!
Doctors offices normally have a supply of various drug samples that are up for grabs – if you know to ask. By requesting a sample of the drug you need, you may save yourself a few weeks off the purchase of the prescription.
2. Get Some Prescriptions FREE
Before you run out to fill that new prescription, check around to see if you can get it for free. Some pharmacies (like Publix) have a list of prescriptions they offer at absolutely no cost – while Walmart & Target have a similar list of $4 prescriptions.
Here are some examples of what prescriptions are routinely offered for free or at a value price:
- Blood Pressure Medication
- Common Antibiotics
- Diabetes Medication
3. Make Sure to Get the Best Prescription Price
Unfortunately – only a handful of prescriptions are part of the free or cheap group above. When you're faced with a pricier prescription, arm yourself with the tools to find the absolute lowest price in town. It could mean BIG savings for you over time!
One useful site is GoodRX (they also have a mobile app). GoodRX lists the costs of your prescription at pharmacies in your area. The nice part is, you don't need to drive all over town to get the best price – just show the cashier at your pharmacy and they'll match the lowest price around!
4. Check for Manufacturer Coupons
Anytime you have a new prescription, it's a good idea to search the internet for coupons. Manufacturers will sometimes have printable coupons, rebates or copay discount cards available!
5. Call the Company and Ask for Help
It never, ever, ever, EVER hurts to try – right?
6. Pay the Bill Up Front for a Discount
You can often get a discount if you offer to pay off the full bill up front for a medical expense. While that's not always possible – getting the bill paid in full can leave a lot of extra money in your pocket over time. Of course that requires budgeting for medical costs…
7. Review Your Bill for Mistakes
You guys . . . this tip might seem a little silly, but wait until you hear the stats. While researching how to save on medical expenses, my mind was completely blown when I read in an article that 9 out of 10 hospital bills contain overcharges (9 out of 10!!) If that's the case – we should all be reading through our medical bills to make sure there are no add-ons or discrepancies.
8. Take Advantage of Employee Health Savings Plans
Does your job offer a health savings account like an Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? If so, learn all you can about it! These are great ways to help you save if you have a high-deductible plan.
An FSA is basically money you set aside for the year's out of pocket medical costs and whatever you put aside will not be counted as taxable income. The only thing to remember here is that whatever you don't use by the end of the year – you LOSE (watch the cut off date for when you lose that money – typically March of the following year). Here are some things you can spend your remaining FSA cash on so you won't lose it:
- Sunscreen (be careful not to overstock – this does expire after awhile!)
- Breast Pumps
- Contact Lenses
- Reading Glasses
- Over the counter medicines (time to toss out anything that's expired!)
- Teeth cleaning
- Chiropractor visits
- Diabetes testing kits
- Blood pressure monitor
- Canes, Walkers, etc
Whatever you spend it on – don't let it go to waste!
9. Staying Healthy
We've all heard the saying prevention is the best medicine… and in many cases it's SO true! Staying in shape, eating healthful foods, and avoiding health risks are all ultimately saving you big money on future medical expenses.
If you need some motivation for living frugally while managing to eat well and get in shape – you might also enjoy these tips for how to save on organic food!
What other tips do you have for saving on medical expenses? I'd love to hear your thoughts ~ leave a comment to share!
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