Believe it or not, you CAN control some of your health care costs. Asking questions, taking control of your care and leading a healthier lifestyle can all reduce the amount of money you spend on your health care, both now and in the future.
Take good care of yourself. When at all possible, treat yourself at home. For example, WebMD.com can help you determine if your symptoms may be a sign of a condition that should be seen by a doctor, or if they are symptoms that over the counter remedies can help.
Educate yourself on the health risks of your lifestyle choices such as alcohol or daily fat intake. Determine if your intake levels are too high and the associated risks. You may find that cutting your intake just slightly can save you in the long run.
Save the emergency room for emergencies. With minor emergency clinics and regular doctors with on-call services, think twice before entering the emergency room and save yourself hundreds of dollars.
If you don’t have insurance, or even if you do, try the new “quick clinic” facilities popping up in local pharmacies. Walgreen’s now boasts Take Care Clinics that treat most conditions your regular doctor will treat. In our search, 13 Denver area Walgreen’s now have Take Care clinics to treat anything from strep throat, pink eye, minor sprains and even yearly physicals and vaccinations. The best part is that they actually list non-insurance prices on their website!
Check your hospital or doctor bills carefully. If you find a questionable charge, call them to have them explain it or remove it. Even if your insurance covers the charge, you pay for it in the long run with higher premiums.
Evaluate your prescriptions. Do a little research about the prescriptions you are taking and try to find generic versions, therapeutic substitutes or over the counter options. Talk to your doctor about these options, and if brand-name drugs are recommended, ask if your doctor has free samples.
Know what your medical benefits cover. Don’t get caught with a huge bill because you “weren’t aware”. Keep your insurance coverage book in a handy place so you can reference it quickly and easily.January 21, 2010 9:14 pm