Healthcare in the United States is among the most expensive in the world, meaning that it can become extremely difficult for some people to manage if they get ill. For those suffering chronic health conditions, the cost of treatment and medication can put a massive pressure on their daily life. But is there a way to reduce the cost of healthcare? What can the average person do to reduce the amount they spend on keeping healthy?
Look at Your Healthcare Plan
It is important to know what your healthcare plan covers. Most people do not look at their plan until they are faced with an unexpected illness or health scare that requires them to pay for treatment. Many insurance policies cover the cost of routine health screenings that are designed to spot the early signs of different health conditions. It might even be the case that there is no co-pay associated with these tests, so it is a good idea to avail of them if they are available. Getting treatment early for a variety of health conditions may help to save money in the long run.
Ask for Generic Medications
If you are taking regular medication, you might be able to reduce the amount you pay by switching to generic medications. According to the experts at Find-A-Code.com, an online database for medical coding, generic medications often cost much less than their brand name equivalents, despite having the same active ingredient. Find A Code say that this is an area where many people can save quite a bit of money on their healthcare costs.
Discuss Medication with Your Doctor
Following on from the above, if you have been taking medication for many years, it might be worth revisiting this with your doctor. Many people continue taking a prescribed medication for a long time, without discussing with their doctor about whether it is still necessary to do so. Examples include anti-reflux medications, nasal sprays, and antihistamines. You might be paying for medication that you no longer need.
Avoid the E.R. If You Can
Obviously, in an emergency you should never avoid the E.R., but if you think that whatever is ailing you could wait until you make an appointment with your primary care doctor, then this could help to save you money. A visit to the E.R. will likely involve a lot of diagnostic testing, which can help physicians to make a quick decision regarding your condition. This could result in an expensive visit for a condition that could have been diagnosed by your doctor, who would not be under so much pressure to make a quick diagnosis.
Take a Measured Approach
For some, the knee-jerk reaction when dealing with unexplained aches and pains is to instantly call the doctor’s office to make an appointment. However, in many cases these aches and pains will resolve themselves in a few days and will have no apparent cause. Another example may be a viral infection, for which there is no treatment. Many people visit their doctor for such an infection, resulting in bills for a problem that would resolve itself if they had only taken a more measured approach.
When your doctor recommends tests, ask as many questions as you can about what the test is and why it is being done. This is particularly relevant for those who are pregnant. In many cases, unnecessary ultrasounds are carried out which are of no benefit to the expectant mother, and which only increase the cost of the treatment. Always question whether testing is absolutely necessary before agreeing to it.