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Cut Health Care Costs without Sacrificing Quality

Cut Health Care Costs without Sacrificing Quality
Written by Irina Vasilescu

More than just looking good and living a quite comfortable lifestyle, it’s your health that you need to prioritize. You can’t enjoy the good things in life in the first place if you’re always sick. You cannot do fun activities which you can afford as a result of working hard if you are too weak and always on a sickbed.

You cannot take care of yourself and your family if you are not 100% at the peak of your health. These are exactly the reasons why you need to invest in excellent health care. Prevention is key so you need to have a healthy lifestyle in the first place.

However, there are instances when no matter how careful you are, a bug or a virus catches on and you can’t help but go on a trip to the emergency room. It’s these instances which you need to prepare for, that is why you should have a suitable health insurance plan.

Find out how you can cut your health care costs without sacrificing the quality of coverage on your health insurance plan in the next sections.

Health Insurance: The Most Important Part of Health Care

You need to invest in an excellent health care plan if you wish to take good care of yourself and your family members. So why is health insurance the most important part of a good health care plan? As you may already know, a health insurance plan is a type of policy which is also called private medical insurance.

At its most basic, a health insurance plan provides financial coverage for the costs of private medical treatment for acute medical conditions. This includes any chronic illnesses, diseases and injuries. There are also some health care insurance plans which provide coverage for preventative health care measures like annual general health check-ups.

There are health insurance plans which are part of an employee’s benefits package while others are paid for privately by an individual. The number one reason why it’s a practical financial move to purchase health insurance is that over time, the costs of medication and hospital care increases.

Instead of shouldering these costs yourself, it makes more sense to pay for a health insurance plan and have your provider cover such medical expenses on your behalf.

Just remember that similar to other insurance plans, health insurance does have certain policy restrictions. The plan may also not cover pre-existing conditions, there are lots of treatments which are not covered, and your premiums are bound to increase over time. In the long run, however, the benefits of buying health insurance plans still far outweigh the cons.

By doing your research, you can look for a suitable health care insurance plan which has sufficient coverage for your health care needs. Next, we’ll enumerate the ways on how you can cut back on health care costs without sacrificing the quality and comprehensiveness of the insurance coverage.

Top 10 Ways to Cut Health Care Costs without Sacrificing Quality

Now that you already have an idea about the importance of health insurance in your overall health care system, let us take a look at the ways for you to cut on related costs without sacrificing the quality of coverage that you will get:

1. Know what to look for in an insurance plan.

When looking for a health insurance plan, do not immediately go with the provider that offers the lowest monthly premiums. Sure, the amount of premium that you will be asked to pay should be a factor in your decision – but it should not be the sole consideration. There are some very cheap health insurance plans which do not even offer the basic health care treatments so you might end up paying more over time.

When comparing plans, take note of the average number of doctor visits that you make each year. Are there any routine prescriptions given to you, your spouse or the kids? What about health insurance plans that include dental cleanings and other services? After knowing how often you make such visits to the doctor and the dentist, you can more or less gauge if the monthly premium for a health insurance plan is worth it or not.

2. Consider subscribing to a high-deductible health insurance plan.

As compared to a traditional health insurance plan, an HD or high deductible plan involves lower premiums. The average annual deductible is $1,100 for individuals and $2,200 for families. This is a great option if you do not visit the doctor that often, save for the annual health check-ups for the kids.

Another benefit of going with an HD plan is that some providers will require you to open a health savings account, which has funds that can grow on a tax-deferred basis.

3. Take advantage of discounts from dental clubs.

Teenage kids who will require braces are a nightmare for parents financially. To make sure that your children’s dental needs are addressed, check out the plans offered by discount clubs like Careington International, AmeriPlan or HealthInsurance.com. If not the metal braces, these clubs offer up to 60% discount on dental services which can burn a hole in your pocket if you’re not careful.

4. Make sure that there is no window where you will not have an active health insurance plan.

You will never know exactly when a trip to the emergency room might happen, or when illness is bound to strike. This is precisely the reason why there should be no window where you will not have an active health insurance plan. Always have that safety net, especially if you are moving or changing jobs.

If you’re transferring to another employer, ask your current company’s health insurance provider if you can pay extra to extend your policy – until such time that the new one kicks in. If not that, you always have the option to buy short-term health care insurance just so that there will be no period where you won’t have any coverage.

5. Take good care of your health.

Walking, eating healthy, quitting habits which are a hazard for your health – these are preventative measures that you can take to not be in need of medical care in the first place. If you have kids, take them to the paediatrician for regular check-ups.

6. When talking to your doctor or dentist, be upfront about your finances.

If your doctor or dentist tells you that you need a very expensive medical procedure, be upfront about your finances. The doctor might be able to suggest a less expensive treatment, or even agree to lower professional fees.

7. If you have kids, teach them to wash their hands properly and steer clear of the emergency room.

You won’t believe how many viruses, diseases and illnesses are skipped simply through proper hand washing. Make sure that antibacterial soap is always available in your home and teach the kids how to wash their hands properly. This is especially true after they have been out in school or playing outdoors.

Another thing to steer clear of is trips to the emergency room. If your child is not feeling well during the weekend, schedule a check-up with the doctor on the very same day. This will prevent the condition from worsening, and a costly trip to the emergency room could be prevented.

8. Go generic on medication.

If you have prescription medication, always remember that generic is as good as brand names. Not only that, but generic is also a lot cheaper. As long as the medicine contains the same active ingredients, there should be no reason for you to skip the generic items.

You can also compare the costs of medication because the prices vary from one drugstore to the next. If you’re unsure about which store to patronize, make a comparison of the prices online.

9. If you need lab tests, always compare costs.

If, after a check-up, the doctor recommends a lab test, an MRI or something similar, a facility will also be suggested. Instead of heading down to the hospital or the lab right away, call first so that you would know how much the tests would actually cost.

There are many hospitals which offer cheaper lab tests than a competing medical establishment. Even hospitals within the same zip code might have different rates for lab tests, so always compare the costs.

10. Always ask your doctor or dentist for a discount.

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or dentist for a discount for whatever treatment or consultation it is that you will undergo. It never hurts to ask and most of the time, doctors are more than willing to lower their professional fees to keep you as a patient.

There’s really no going around the fact that your health should not be sacrificed for any amount of money. If you would like to have an excellent health care system, it all starts with having a comprehensive health insurance package.

The good news is that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to have sufficient coverage. By comparing plans and knowing exactly what to look for, you can get what that you need without sacrificing the quality and comprehensiveness of the plan’s coverage.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.

6 Comments

  • Great article. I do relate on the importance of health care, as you would not know what will happen to you and the cost and getting sick is now entails a big amount.mwhen my grandmother got sick before, she never had a health insurance in her life ( it is not very usual in our country) and it did hurt the finances of all her children after since her illness was very expensive to cure and maintain. That’s why when I landed my first job, my first priority was to put my parents into the health insurance. Good thing my company has offers for that and it really save m a lot of time and money when my father got sick.

    I totally agree with generic medications. In our country, it is now mandatory for doctors to write down the generic name and just advised tye commercial name if there is one that they think the best. My general rule on this was, if the medicine has to be taken 3 days or less, buy the commercial medicine, but if it has to be 7 days or more, or for maintenance, buy the generic.

  • I had no idea there were discount clubs available for dentistry. It makes so much sense, and I hope organizations like that open for other aspects of healthcare as well. It’s a boon both for the patients and the providers. There is no downside!

  • High deductible policies are most useful for healthy young adults. The monthly rate is so much lower that it’s useful. Even if you have to pay for 1-2 doctor’s visits at the discount insurance price it’s typically cheaper than a year of premiums at the higher HMO rate. Usually if you don’t have insurance, you can negotiate a price similar to the insurance price for cash pay and not have to pay the premiums but there’s a huge risk related to emergency hospitalizations. The HMO rate is ultimately better though if you find that you’re actually paying that whole high deductible every year.

  • Some of these tips are very useful- thank you! I had no idea about dental clubs, that is a wonderful money-saving tip. It’s also a great idea to insist on generics when it comes to medications- that can save some people hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.

    I never knew it could help to be upfront about finances with a doctor or dentist. I’ll have to try that the next time I’m told I need an expensive treatment.

  • Dental discount programs are nice! We have one for our oldest child because it is cheaper than adding him to my husband’s dental insurance through his employer. Once we have more children that need to be going to the dentist, we may switch them all over to the employer dental plan, but for just one child, the cost is better to pay the dental discount program fees.

  • I wonder why high-deductible insurance plans aren’t just made the default for everyone looking to get one. They are so cost-effective and you won’t even have to think of it that much. If you live a healthy lifestyle and have no dependents that are disabled or very sick, this should be your number one priority.

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