An unexpected health event can occur at any time, and sometimes, we’re left wondering whether or not it’s something that we can swing financially. While insurance can cover some of the expenses, there’s still the possibility of having to dig into our own bank accounts to cover the tab for necessary tests, treatments, medicines, and more.
However, there are ways to be proactive against the possibility of losing your shirt over a sudden medical emergency. Often times, it’s as simple as just some of the early choices we make regarding our standard medical care. Here are some tips for reducing out-of-pocket costs.
Do your research.
Whether you’re looking at insurance options during the open enrollment period, evaluating your choices through your employer, or just evaluating pricing, it never hurts to look at just how much your premiums will set you back. Health insurance price comparison tools have not only become more accessible online, but their search capabilities have improved to show just how much your plan will cost you and your loved ones.
If you have any doctors or specialists that you’re attached to and entrust with your medical care, check to see that they’re in the network of the health plan you desire. Out-of-network costs are often the most expensive mistake healthcare consumers make without realizing it. Be sure to also reach out to your primary care physician or other specialists to make sure they retain your coverage, as sometimes doctors drop certain insurers with minimal alert as to the when and why.
Tests and Treatments
Much like researching the health care plan that’s right for you, be sure to do research when it comes to your medication and potential treatment plans for certain ailments. This includes blood tests and even an audiology hearing test.
For example, certain prescription medications can get expensive, especially for patients with chronic ailments that rely on taking pills for an indefinite period of time or multiple prescriptions at once. Be sure to consult with your doctor and your pharmacist about cheaper, generic options that cost significantly less than brand-name versions they copy.
Certain diagnostic testing like blood work and urinalysis can be covered under health insurance like basic CBC testing for levels like white blood cells and platelets. More extensive blood work may be accounted for based on certain additional coverage. However, it’s important to act in consultation with your doctor and even express concern over finances if you’re worried about out-of-pocket costs.
Avoid the emergency room.
When a sudden medical event occurs, our first instinct is usually to call an ambulance or rush to an emergency room. The reality is that, oftentimes, a trip to the ER is not only unnecessary but costly.
Emergency room visits can often set you back even with a rather expensive copay compared to your standard cost for going to your doctor or an urgent care center. The use of an ambulance can also run an extremely high cost. This isn’t to shrug off the necessity of the ER or the use of an ambulance in a medical emergency. It’s better to understand when to utilize these options, rather than run up your costs for something that can be handled by a primary care physician or a rapid care center.
For example, if you think you may have sprained your ankle during a run, a rapid care center can provide you with more immediate attention and save you significantly on costs. If the injury isn’t too bad, you can even wait until the next day to see your regular physician. However, a broken bone would be grounds for a trip to the emergency room, if the pain is so severe.
These are just a few tips to reduce costs. Don’t let money worries get in the way of your overall health, however. Your health is your most valuable resource of all.