Medical expenses are a cost that you may not have the time or ability to negotiate. Comparison shopping while in pain is difficult; when being carried into the Emergency Room, it is not possible. However, there are a few ways to reduce the costs of medical care without sacrificing care.
Is there an emergency room or hospital that your insurer considers in network or out of network? Have that in network hospital’s contact information on your fridge and cell phone as the place to call by default.
When a doctor gives a prescription, there may not be a choice as to whether or not to go without the medicine. To ask for generics or free samples is common knowledge. However, not all drugs come in generic form or can be given out as samples.
Ask the doctor if any of the prescriptions fall under the discount generic prescriptions program at major retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Walgreens. A $7 generic from these retailers is cheaper than $30 at a hospital affiliated pharmacy.
Save on time and travel by asking the doctor’s office or clinic staff to fax your prescription to your preferred pharmacy. This saves you the trip of driving over to drop off and then pick up the prescription. If you would have waited for the prescription until it was filled, this act will still save time and reduce the odds of shopping while waiting.
Asking whether tests are necessary may be difficult in an emergency or during a severe illness. An alternative that saves money without appearing to contradict the doctor is to ask him to use an in network lab for your tests. If that isn’t possible, get a list of all tests run. This list should be checked against any medical lab bills.
Do you need physical therapy? If the hospital affiliated therapist is expensive after discharge, find out if there is a local MedCareNow or similar urgent care clinic nearby. These medical facilities increasingly offer physical therapy services. And given their lower overhead, it may be cheaper than hospital affiliated services. They also have payment plans for the uninsured.
For orthopedic services like clubbed feet or developmental bone disorders, Shriner’s Hospitals provide excellent care. These services are not limited to the indigent; they will take a wide range of patients. Easter Seals also offers similar services, though their services are restricted to those in need.
These are just some tips to help you save money on medical care costs. Above all else, remember to make preparations while you are still feeling well. In addition, remember that the best way to save money is to maintain good health as much as possible in the first place.