iQuanti: Health is a top priority for many. However, healthcare can be one of the most significant expenses households face. Unexpected medical bills can drain savings or cause people to incur debt. Fortunately, there are numerous tips and tricks to saving money on medical costs. Many of them are quite simple, too. This article will dive into five ways you can cut your medical bills so you can stay healthy without breaking the bank.
1. Use in-network care providers
If you have a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan, you can get coverage for out-of-network providers, but you'll still be responsible for most of the bill. On the other hand, your plan will cover a much larger portion of the cost if you stay in-network. Research in-network providers so you can save money while finding the provider who meets your needs.
2. Negotiate your bills
Believe it or not, you can negotiate your medical bills to a certain degree. Here are some quick tips on how to negotiate medical bills:
- Try before treatment: You'll have more negotiating power if services haven't already been performed.
- Ask for a cash discount: Providers may charge less if you pay in cash.
- Request an itemized bill: This lets you scan the bill and look for potential errors to be fixed.
- Ask for a reduced fee: If the provider is a non-profit hospital, they may be required to have certain programs that cut medical costs for qualifying patients.
3. Use generic prescriptions
Generic drugs are much cheaper than name-brand drugs. According to Consumer Reports, generic drugs are just as safe as name-brand drugs as well. If you have regular prescriptions, switching to generics can save you decent money regularly.
4. Establish a health savings account
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have a "triple-tax advantage." This means that:
- Contributions are tax-deductible.
- You can invest your funds into various assets, and all the accounts' earnings are tax-deferred.
- Withdrawals are tax-free for qualifying medical expenses, such as deductibles, copays, and prescriptions.
These tax advantages help you set aside more funds for taxes, and the investments help your funds grow for the future. Plus, you can withdraw HSA funds for any purpose after retirement with no penalty — although you may owe income tax. If you have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you can get an HSA.
5. Reevaluate your plan
The more you pay in premiums, the lower your deductible and copays. The same is true vice versa. So, you should evaluate your coverage needs and pick a plan that more closely aligns with them.
For instance, if you see a provider regularly for a chronic issue, you may step up to a plan with higher premiums. This could cut your deductible and similar costs, saving you money in the long run.
On the other hand, if you're young and healthy, you might consider a plan with lower premiums. Your deductible will increase, but you may save money since you won't need frequent treatment. As mentioned earlier, you could qualify for an HSA if you end up with an HDHP.
Save money on medical treatment
Although medical bills can be expensive, there are numerous ways to cut those costs and stay on budget. Start by staying in-network if you have a PPO since your insurer will cover more of your costs. Negotiate bills where possible and opt for generic prescriptions over name-brand drugs. Finally, re-evaluate your plan — and if you pick an HDHP, open and fund an HSA. By following these tips, you could put a real dent in the cost of medical care and keep yourself out of medical debt.
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Original Source: 5 Ways to Save on Your Medical Bills