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How to Reduce Your Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Costs

Healthcare Cost

Rising prices, stagnant wages, uncertainty about taxes, and an increasingly complex and expensive healthcare market may be combining to empty your pockets. And in fact, Americans have been paying more out of pocket for their health care expenses in recent years. But, there are still a host of effective strategies you can use to reduce those out-of-pocket costs.

While everyone’s situation differs in ways that will affect his or her health expenses and impact which cost-reduction strategies will work best, here are 6 key ways that almost anyone can reduce on uncovered healthcare costs:

1. Sign Up For Medicare Advantage

You’ve probably heard the term before, but exactly what is Medicare Part C? A look at its features and benefits can be had by clicking on the provided link. Here, we mention the fact that Part C can save you out of pocket by adding coverage for dental care and prescription drugs, besides still including the hospital and medical insurance of parts A and B.

But who is eligible to apply for this health insurance? People above 65 years are the target group who can benefit from part C health insurance, and also younger than 65 with certain types of disabilities.

Finally, Part C puts a limit on how much you can possibly have to pay out of pocket for A and B type services. After you max out, Medicare cover 100% of those expenses from there on. That gives you certainty about how much you will, at most, pay, besides the extra dental and drug coverage.

2. Comparison Shop and Use Generics

When you begin to research the costs of different major procedures at different medical providers, you will be amazed at how much they can vary. You can often get equivalent care at some outpatient clinics as at a major hospital, but for a much lower price tag.

And to discover what is the average cost for specific types of care in your area, you can use any of the many online search tools that give you such averages in seconds, after you enter your zip code.

Finally, buying generic versions of drugs can save you big, and generics are legally required to use the same active ingredient(s) as the drugs they mimic. So, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to prescribe them in place of more expensive name-brand drugs.

3. Avoid the Emergency Room

If you have a real emergency, with life or limb in jeopardy, the ER is a must, not an option. That said, avoid the ER whenever possible. It costs upwards of $2,000 for an average ER visit, and it doesn’t have to be a “real emergency” to be a costly one. An urgent care clinic or a same-day doctor’s appointment will be much less pricey.

4. Use Technology to Save

Using an online “video appointment” for minor ailments is often 100% effective. Doctor’s can ask questions and see the patient in virtual visits just like in actual ones. And it saves you money.

And if your regular doctor communicates with you via emails, texts, and chat sessions as needed (within reasonable demands on his/her time), that can often save you long waits in the doctor’s office. Also, you can use online services to book doctor or even dentist appointments (here’s an example of Denver`s best dentists listed by Zocdoc – an app for booking doctor appointments online) . And time, after all, is money.

5. Stay In-Network

To reduce your share of medical bills, you need to ensure that your insurance of choice covers your favorite providers. Or, alternatively, pick the providers based on the insurance network. But unless they match, you pay extra out of pocket with every service received.

You also need to check the price points of the providers, of course. For, paying a smaller percentage of a larger bill might mean paying more overall.

6. Call to Challenge Denied Claims

If you do get a bill in the mail for a medical expense you thought was covered, or see less of it covered than you thought should be, don’t hesitate to call your insurer.

Sometimes, mistakes are made. And other times, the insurer may be willing to reconsider if you call and make an appeal. Insurance company decisions are not always set in stone like people think: you’d be surprised how many people have appealed, won, and saved big.