It may not seem possible to save money on healthcare. Everything just seems to be getting more and more expensive. A simple blood test can cost as much as $100.00. Not to mention the rising cost of caring for our elderly as we enter the baby boomer stage. Let us look at some ways you can save money on healthcare for yourself and for family member’s.
Common Types of Health Insurance
Everyone should have some type of health insurance even if it is the barest minimum, it will at least save you a little money.
Depending on your age, health, employment, affiliations, dependency status and financial resources there can be more than one potential source for healthcare coverage. Obtaining coverage for healthcare from a single primary source is common although coverage can be maximized by combining sources. The three most common types of insurance include:
1. Group healthcare plans that are sponsored by the employer is the most common healthcare coverage source for working individuals and their families. The spouse and children of the worker can be covered under these plans, which are often free, or only requires that partial payment be made by the employee.
2. Senior citizens age 65 or above can get Medicare, prescription coverage under Medicare Part D and supplement programs for Medicare. A number of the medical expenses seniors incur are covered.
3. The government provides non-seniors with medical coverage such as Medicaid. There are government programs for those with low income when financial criteria are met. The medical expenses are mostly, if not entirely covered.
Tests and Procedures
Many people just accept what the doctor or dentist tells them. They do not question whether the tests or procedures are absolutely necessary, how much they cost, or if another test or procedure is more affordable that would show the same results or provide the same benefits.
You have to make sure that you know what the doctor charges for particular procedures when you pay dentist or doctors out of your own pocket. There are two points that you have to keep in mind when shopping around because different rates are charged by different doctors, and patients that pay cash could be charged a higher rate.
Even those with insurance coverage that pay out of pocket as a result of a high deductible can be charged more for procedures. Insurance companies negotiate rates with physicians; the statements from your insurance company will verify this. The allowed amount listed is often less than the full charge from the doctor.
Many people choose to go to a free clinic or a clinic that charges on a sliding scale. Meaning you pay what you can afford and often times the charge is nothing, or as little as $5.00 for the visit. If you need a prescription, most clinics have trial samples that they will give you, instead of you having to pay for the prescription at a pharmacy.
If you need dental work done try a dental clinic open to the public. Alternatively, if you live near a dental school call and ask them what services they offer. Most dental schools provide fillings and extractions. Some even do root canals and more intense procedures. The cost is usually very low because you are actually doing the dental school a favor by allowing their (qualified) students to work on your teeth. Think of it as a teaching hospital, that is how dental students learn. Do not worry, they are all supervised by a board certified dentist during the procedures!
Tammy Mahan has worked in the healthcare field for 20 years. She enjoys writing health articles for Healthline.com in her free time.