You’re a skilled hunter of online deals, never accepting the first price you see. So why are you blindly accepting the cost of your healthcare? With a little extra effort, you could save thousands of dollars on your medical expenses, even if you have a good insurance plan.
Stick with smaller, independent providers
If you have insurance, your bill will depend on the price your insurer negotiated with the provider. Larger hospitals and provider networks have more negotiating power, since the insurers want to keep them in-network, and command higher prices. Smaller centers end up with lower prices for the same services, providing patients with considerable savings. Get great care at a low price by having your check-ups, blood work, and imaging tests at smaller centers with good reputations. Use large, brand-name hospitals only for procedures that require highly-specialized skills not available elsewhere.
If you don’t like the price, negotiate a lower one
Most providers will offer significant savings to patients who can pay upfront without submitting a claim to an insurer, since there’s less overhead and no risk of a denial. If you have a high deductible and expect to pay out of pocket, you can save hundreds or even thousands by going this route. (If you expect lots of medical expenses, however, you may just want to pay down your deductible.)
If you need an imaging test, use Medmo to automate the negotiation process. Just set the price you can afford to pay. We’ll find an imaging center that can work with your budget, and we’ll book the appointment on your behalf.
Avoid unnecessary tests at all costs
Before spending thousands of dollars on a test or procedure, make sure you really need it. First, tell your doctor how much it’s going to cost, and inquire about less expensive alternatives. Second, make sure your doctor’s test ordering practices are consistent with national guidelines. Seek a second opinion, if possible. Also check out resources like Choosing Wisely, where professional medical groups list the most overprescribed and unnecessary medical tests.
Have a primary care doctor
Even if you’re a generally healthy person, you should see an internist each year to screen for common conditions and prevent expensive complications down the road. Plus, you’ll gain access to an on-call doctor, who can help address issues that might otherwise require an expensive visit to an urgent care or E.R.
Make sure everything is in-network
If you see a physician in your insurer’s network, you’ll likely save money on your co-pay and final bill. If that physician performs a test or procedure, however, make sure everyone else involved is also in-network. The most common causes of surprise bills are assistant surgeons or outside laboratories that are out-of-network.
Try not to pay more than $4 for your prescriptions
Large pharmacy chains like Target and Walmart have negotiated exceptional savings on many generic medications. By sticking with this list, you can pay just $4 for thirty days of pills, and $10 for ninety days of pills. First, check if any of your medications (including in generic form) are on this list. If not, ask your doctor if any of your pills are similar to other medications on this list. It’s often no big deal to switch from one medication to another in the same drug class.
If your pills have grooves, double your dose and split them
Pharmacies often charge the same price for different dosages of the same medication. If your pills have central grooves, and you can easily split them, ask your doctor if it’s okay to get a prescription for double your usual dose. Then just split all the pills, instantly cutting the cost of your medication in half. Of note, some medications either don’t split easily or aren’t evenly distributed in the pill, so double check with your pharmacist.
To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.