The United States features on of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world. As a percent of GDP, Americans spend nearly 18% of total GDP on healthcare costs, other industrialized countries like France, Switzerland and Japan spend much less. Put another way, a little over $10,000 per person is spent on healthcare.
While healthcare in the United States can be expensive, all that is required to save on healthcare costs is the willingness to thoroughly consider your options with budget in mind before making a medical decision.
Navigating the American healthcare system can be challenging, there are ways for patients to lower costs, thereby saving money while also helping to use healthcare resources more responsibly. This article will help patients to identify ways to smartly save on healthcare related costs.
- Pick the right health insurance plan
First and foremost, it is important to select a health insurance plan. According to a report by the New York Times, there is roughly a 10% chance that an uninsured person will incur a medical bill worth $10,000. There is a 5% chance that an uninsured person will incur a medical bill worth over $27,000. Simply put, the risks of going uninsured rarely outweigh the rewards in the long run.
When selecting a health insurance plan, there are a few variables to consider. If health insurance is provided by your place of work, you will be presented with a variety of pre-authorized plans that your workplace will cover. Carefully review deductibles, co-pays, and monthly fees to determine what plan is right for you.
If you are not provided with employer based health insurance. You can either acquire coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, your local health insurance marketplace, or privately. The avenue you choose will depending on your income, and on the level of coverage you need.
Invest in preventative medicine
A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control found that preventative medicine was responsible for the decline of chronic illnesses related to cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But, millions of Americans still do not receive the level of preventative care they need to stay healthy.
Preventative care is not only a prerequisite to maintaining your health, it can prevent you from racking up expensive healthcare bills as a result of acquiring a chronic illness. Educate yourself about the importance of preventative care, and be sure to receive an annual physical in order to lower your medical costs and to stay healthy in the long run.
- Get a second opinion when appropriate
Technology is a powerful thing. In our day to day lives we might be more interested in using technology to find the best hashtags for Instagram, but technology can also make a meaningful impact on health outcomes. Technology has made telemedicine possible. Now a physician can provide a second opinion without needing the patient to move a muscle. Information can be transferred digitally, and doctors can conference in via a video call to speak with and diagnose you in person.
The next time you are considering a costly medical procedure, consider receiving a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to turn to a telemedicine solution to get in touch with doctors who might be otherwise inaccessible to you.
Examine medical bills carefully
Hospitals have been known for including outrageously priced items as part of routine medical bills. A recent review of hospital medical bills found that aspirin can regularly cost over $25 a pill and that baby diapers can cost $100. While it is by no means the most fun thing to do, consider carefully reviewing all of your medical bills. If you have questions about what certain items mean, you can turn to a database to decipher some of the more obtuse language within most medical bills.
Contest expenses medical expenses
If you do successfully identify an item billed in error, or if you feel an item is unreasonably high, be sure to content the expenses in a timely manner with the medical provider. Usually most practices will have a billing department that is equipped to handle disputes and negotiations.
Healthcare costs can become a large personal expense if allowed to get out of control. To keep costs down, remember that it is important to invest in decent health insurance coverage and in preventative medicine. If you are ever in need of an expensive medical procedure, consider getting a second opinion first.
Should you be charged a large healthcare bill, carefully review it and content any changes that seem wrong. With all of the money you save on healthcare, you can buy something fun like Dubai dolphinarium tickets.