It is common knowledge that healthcare costs an arm and a leg in America, so you are not alone if you struggle to pay your medical bills. The US has the most expensive healthcare globally, with the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker estimating that other wealthy nations spend about half as much per individual on health than America. As such, it is vital to find effective ways to reduce how much you pay for any care you receive. Below are four great tips you should know to reduce your healthcare costs.
- Go to the emergency room for genuine emergencies only
The CDC estimates that about 136 million patients visit emergency rooms in America annually. Emergency room (ER) visits are undoubtedly necessary if you suffer a life-threatening injury or condition like a stroke, heart attack, seizure, or head injury. However, ER visits are notoriously costly, and copays for care received here can surpass several hundreds of dollars even if you have health insurance. Therefore, ensure that your ER visits are only for conditions that genuinely require you to go there. You can visit a more affordable urgent care center instead if you experience mild asthma attacks, fevers and colds, minor cuts, dehydration, and other conditions that aren’t life-threatening.
- Live healthier
A healthier lifestyle is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to save money on your medical bills, so keep this in mind. Admittedly, staying healthy is often easier said than done, but you should put in more effort to reduce how much you spend on healthcare. Therefore, try to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and give up smoking to lower your risk of developing health issues. Additionally, adopt better sleep habits and eat healthier to avoid expensive tests and treatments for various conditions ranging from heart disease to diabetes.
- Trim your prescription costs
A recent RAND Corporation report revealed that prescription drug prices in America are 256% higher than in other countries. Still, these drugs remain vital to the treatment process, so it is best to find ways to save on medication since you cannot do without it. For starters, stick to generic drugs since they are equally safe and effective as name-brand prescriptions and usually cost way less. Also, consider asking your physician to recommend a mail-order pharmacy that can offer you a larger prescription package for less money.
- Watch for billing errors
Billing errors are reportedly present on three out of four medical bills, so there is a high chance that you will have to pay more for healthcare due to inaccuracies. Consequently, watch for billing errors after receiving treatment to reduce your chances of overpaying for medical care. You can request itemized bills instead of explaining benefits (EOB) statements to know what you are being asked to pay for. Additionally, check your bill to see if you have received all the drugs, services, and other items on it. Also, request medical bill audits since insurance claim processes make errors that lead to incorrect billing. Finally, consider hiring a professional bill reviewer to determine if you have been billed correctly based on their extensive knowledge of hospital diagnoses and procedure codes.