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Smart Ways To Avoid Costly Medical Bills

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Justin Maak
Justin Maakhttps://www.resticmagazine.com
I cover business topics for Restic Magazine. I have a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and live in New York City. I’ve previously reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside.

In recent years, the costs of health care have skyrocketed. Even with insurance, many people often find themselves running into debt due to soaring prices of insurance premiums, medical procedures, prescription medications and even lab tests. Luckily, there are ways you can significantly reduce the amount of money you spend on medical bills.

Choose the right insurance

When choosing a health plan, don’t just consider the amount you pay for monthly premiums. Other aspects of the health plan, such as; the deductible which is a separate annual sum you have to pay before your insurance policy kicks in, copays for certain medical services, and co-insurance, must be carefully considered. This is because the less you pay on monthly premiums, the higher these other costs will be. To help you decide on which premium to go for, take a review of the average amount you spent on health care from the previous year and compare it with different health insurance plans before going for the one with the lowest overall costs.

Maintain in-network providers

Many insurance providers have deals with certain facilities, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, labs, and pharmacies (online pharmacies too) to cover their patients at a lower cost than usual. This ensures that you get only the best prices on procedures, medications and other services, thus, significantly reducing your medical bills.

Shop for prescription drugs online

Prescription drugs contribute greatly to the total cost of your medical bills and a great way to cut these costs is to shop and compare their prices online. Online pharmacies like Canada Drugs offer very competitive prices for both brand name and generic versions of most prescription drugs.

Using an online pharmacy also affords you the chance to compare different prices from different pharmacies to find the lowest price. However, while buying your medication online, ensure that you only buy from accredited pharmacies that will always require a valid prescription from your doctor before dispensing drugs to you.

Avoid the emergency room

A visit to the emergency room costs more than you think. Even with insurance, you might end up paying more money on copay for a single emergency room visit than you would at a doctor’s office. An ER visit will cost even more if you don’t have insurance. So if your health issue doesn’t require urgent care, visiting the emergency room will only lead to higher medical bills.

A cheaper option would be to book an appointment at a doctor’s office. Other alternatives include;  nurse lines (24-hour phone line service covered by most insurers), tele-health, urgent care centers, convenience care clinics and e-pharmacies (many online pharmacies like Canada Drugs offer the services of licensed pharmacists to help answer any questions or concerns you may have about your medications).

Ask for generic drugs

Most brand-name prescription drugs have cheaper, generic versions that typically cost 80%-85% less. This can make a huge difference if you’re under-insured and paying for your medications out of pocket. Your insurer may also charge lower copays for certain preferred generic drugs.

Generic and brand name drugs deliver the same clinical benefits (the difference is usually in their appearance and type of inactive ingredients), so asking your doctor to prescribe generic medications can help you reduce the amount of money you spend on your medications.

Conclusion:

Saving money on health care requires making smart choices. You need to properly understand what your health needs are in order to choose the right insurance plans. Do not be afraid to discuss cost-saving options like the use of e-pharmacies and generic drugs with your doctor.

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