CHOOSING a doctor or other health-care practitioner can be a real pain! There are many things to consider – the doctor’s training, experience and credentials; references, recommendations or ratings from other patients, bedside manner, disciplinary or malpractice actions and whether the practice takes your health insurance. Medical expenses can add up quickly and are the leading cause of bankruptcy in America today.
Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions has several ways you can use to save money when visiting your doctor.
Compare prescription-drug costs. Medication is one of the biggest budget-busting medical expenses. Even with good insurance, you’re likely to be left with something to pay.
Some apps make it easy to compare costs by telling you the cheapest price and place to purchase a drug in your area. Two of the best and most popular are GoodRx and Lowest Med.
If you aren’t tech savvy, both will mail a discount card you can show your doctor or pharmacist to score lower prices.
Research your insurance. It’s incredibly important to understand the intricacies of your coverage.
What are your co-pays? What’s your deductible and where do you stand in terms of meeting it?
Will the doctor you see routinely be in-network so you don’t have to overpay? What will a visit to an urgent-care facility cost as an alternative to an emergency-room, or ER, visit?
Ask your insurance company or your employer’s human-resources department questions like these, especially if you are having a hard time putting together all the details.
Leave credit cards at home. Putting medical bills on credit cards is not a good idea – there are too many better options available. They include payment plans that typically last up to 18 months and don’t involve interest. Ask your health-care provider about such arrangements.
Compare local costs. When choosing a new provider or specialist, consider the option that minimizes your expenses after insurance. This step is particularly important for non-emergencies like routine services and elective operations, where the cost can vary significantly.
An excellent resource for this type of comparison is Healthcare Bluebook, which is online at healthcarebluebook.com. It shows the “fair price” for a service based on zip code. Call the listed providers to ask about their specific prices.
Start saving now. You can lower your medical expenses! All it takes is some research and asking the right questions, so put these tips to work and start saving today!
Jordan Rzad is the senior director responsible for internet marketing at Houston Better Business Bureau.