«   |   »

Putting a Lid on Health Care Costs

As with many other services and products in America, health care costs have been on the rise. Health care providers and establishments are increasing their prices, while those who do have insurance are facing higher premiums and less coverage. Some families are no longer able to afford insurance, or are not provided insurance by their employer due to the state of the current economy. No matter your health insurance situation, you probably have wondered how you can save money in various health situations for your medical care. Here are some tips for the next time you or a loved one needs medical attention.

Don’t Cry Wolf

health care costsThere are many times where calling an ambulance is very necessary, such situations can include after a motor vehicle accident, other types of accidents, for chest pain, extreme other types of pain, inability to walk or move, or severe difficulty breathing. Many symptoms and conditions legitimately warrant the use of an ambulance. However, if possible, the use of an ambulance should be avoided.

The specialized training of emergency responders, the equipment required and used in an ambulance, and the treatments provided in an ambulance all drive the price of an ambulance ride sky high. Even a short ambulance ride can cost over $2,000 after insurance coverage. Getting the life saving care someone needs is always top priority, but an ambulance is a very expensive taxi. If you are not facing a life-threatening emergency, it may be worth it to think through the situation and strongly consider driving yourself or calling a friend to drive you to the emergency room or urgent care facility.

Consider the Level of Care Needed

If you can avoid the emergency room and go to an urgent care facility, you will probably save money. Depending on your condition or illness, many urgent care facilities are able to treat you with the same quality of care that you would receive in an emergency room. Many are equipped with lab and x-ray equipment and knowledgeable staff. Urgent care centers cost less and usually take less time than a traditional emergency room. Better yet, if your condition can wait until you can see your primary care physician, you will save even more money over going to an urgent care center.

Shop Around

If you know you need a procedure or a surgery that is not urgent, shop around. Compare prices at different hospitals and surgery centers. You may find that surgery centers are less expensive than traditional hospitals. Prices can also vary in different areas of a metropolitan area. Taking the time and effort to compare prices can save you thousands of dollars when all is said and done. The best care is not necessarily the most expensive care.

If you are really adventurous you might even consider going to another country, medical tourism is a growing field with high quality services in countries like Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Thailand and India, available at a fraction of the cost of a U.S. proceedure.

Save on Prescriptions

Additionally, you can shop around and compare prices for your prescriptions, especially prescriptions that you routinely take. There can be large price differences between brick and mortar pharmacies and mail order or online pharmacies. If you do not have health insurance prescription coverage, there are even free prescription pharmacy discount cards available to save you significant amounts on your prescriptions. If your prescription is available in generic formulation you can save even more. Many places like Walmart now maintain a list of generic drugs that they charge a flat $4 per one month refill. Often the same name brand drug will cost you $50 or even $100 per month.

With increasing costs, health care costs can put extreme pressure on your budget. However, by following these simple tips you can make your health and your budget a priority at the same time. Above all, make sure you take care of yourself and seek medical care when and where you need it.

See Also:

Recommended by Amazon:

Image courtesy of Stock Images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net