Every year, the price of medical care seems to go up. We pay a hefty premium to be insured through my husband’s work, and then we have a $350 deductible and a $15 co-pay for any doctor’s visit, including wellness checks.
However, I know what we pay for medical care is not that much in the grand scheme of things; many Americans are paying much, much more for medical care than we are.
Yet, in my ongoing goal to continually lower our expenses, I’ve found a few strategies to reduce the high cost of medical care, and avoiding unpaid medical bills.
Call the doctor before you go in.
One Saturday night, my youngest came down with a fever that started at 102.5 and climbed all the way to 104.5. Luckily, we controlled the fever with over the counter medicine, and she was back to herself in two days. And then it was time for my other daughter to get it. Then, my son. When my son got it, he was sick for three days and unable to keep down food.
Instead of bringing him to the doctor, I called the nurse. The nurse recommended a wait and see attitude. If he wasn’t better the next day, bring him in. Well, he was on the mend the next day, and I saved myself the $15 co pay.
Wait to fill prescriptions.
I had a root canal a few months ago. The doctor prescribed hydrocodone, and I promptly filled the prescription, which cost me $16 out of pocket. I should have waited, though, because the little pain I had afterward was easily managed with aspirin. If I hadn’t rushed to fill the prescription, I would have saved $16.
Of course, this advice does not apply to regular, monthly prescriptions need to control certain chronic conditions.
Consider an alternative to drug stores for your prescriptions.
I have to take thyroid medications. For years, I went to Walgreen’s to fill the prescription every month. Then I found out I could get a three month refill from Costco for a price 1/3 less than Walgreen’s. Yes, please.
If you have a Costco or Sam’s Club near you, checking the prices for prescriptions is worth your while. Even better, you don’t have to be a warehouse club member to use their pharmacy.
Ask for a different billing code.
My daughter had her regular wellness check in the spring when she turned 5. This past fall, we switched doctors. The new doctor required a new patient visit before she would start seeing my daughter regularly. The problem? The doctor’s office billed this visit as an annual wellness check, and my insurance provider refused to pay for any of the appointment, leaving me with a $125 bill.
I called the billing office, explained the situation, and after the billing office looked into the situation, they used a different billing code so I was only charged our typical $15 co-pay.
Insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays can be expensive. Using these tips and tricks, you can shave anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred or even thousand dollars off your medical bills each year.
What are your favorite ways to save on medical expenses?