Health insurance is notoriously expensive in the United States. In 2017, U.S. health care costs were over $3.5 trillion which makes it one of the country’s largest industries. More Americans of all backgrounds are struggling to make ends meet when it comes to their healthcare, and that means more people are trying to save money on costs than ever before.
Luckily, there are more ways than you think to save money. While having an insurance plan is a must, your savings don’t just stop there. Believe it or not, you’re in control as a patient, and you can find money-saving options if you know where to look. Here are 5 money-saving tips for health insurance.
1. Shop Around for Insurance
One of the biggest mistakes individuals make is not shopping around for the best insurance plan. The top healthcare companies offer special rates and perks to attract more members, so it’s worth comparing your options before you make a decision.
Before you start shopping, consider your annual healthcare expenses. Don’t choose the cheapest plan because it’ll cost you less each month. Think about what you really need to spend your money on each year when it comes to your health and choose a plan that maximizes your savings.
2. Utilize Urgent Care
Many people seek the wrong kind of care at the wrong time. This costs them big time. It’s easy to go straight to the emergency room if you suspect something’s wrong, but this could cost you upwards of $500 even for minor ailments.
Save your money unless you’re facing a life-threatening emergency. A much smarter option is to visit a local urgent care clinic. These run at a significantly lower cost, and they’re usually faster. Many urgent care clinics have all of the facilities of an emergency room but without the big price tag, and some are open 24 hours.
3. Find Cheaper Medication
Aside from choosing generic, did you know you can easily shop around for better deals on your prescription medication? You might discover the prices differ between your local mom-and-pop pharmacy and a big-name store like Costco. In fact, you might be more surprised to learn that sometimes medications are cheaper without insurance. Check the GoodRx app to compare the prices in your area.
4. Pay Cash
When you visit medical professionals, always ask if they offer a cash discount. A cash discount means you’ll pay in full at the time of service. This saves both money and time, and you’ll often get a steep discount as compared to the price if you’re billed for the service later on. This is most commonly used at hospitals, but you might also discover it at smaller facilities so never be afraid to ask.
5. Negotiate Your Rate
Finally, did you know you can negotiate your rate with your healthcare provider? While not all will be flexible, many times they have options for those who are unable to pay in full. From a cash discount to a payment plan, you might discover more payment options than you think.
Beyond this, always talk to your healthcare provider about your budget and financial concerns. Many might waive testing fees or opt for a less-expensive treatment if they know about your financial concerns. It never hurts to be upfront about your situation.
Protect Your Health
Are you prepared to protect your health? Just because your minding your budget doesn’t mean you can’t get the same high level of healthcare. These tips above will save you big when it comes to your insurance plan.
You don’t always have to pay the first price listed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to speak up about your health needs and budget. In a world of rising healthcare costs, we could all stand to be advocates for our own health.