From emergency room visits to hospitalizations, Americans are paying more than ever for their healthcare. With increasing costs, people have even gone so far as to take an Uber over paying the high cost of an ambulance ride.
With horror stories of the high costs of healthcare bills, is there anything that can be done to help manage these costs and save money? The answer is yes -- but you’ll need to do some research. Here’s where you can save money without sacrificing the quality of care.
Mistakes happen, and sometimes you can get hit with a bill for a procedure or a device that you didn’t have done or need. Ask the hospital for an itemized bill and check it over carefully to see if you’re being charged for something you didn’t receive.
There’s also the issue of an insurance company suddenly refusing to pay for something they’ve covered before. Before you break open that piggy bank and reach for your savings, check with your insurance company and the hospital billing administration to see if the procedure was simply coded wrong. Incorrect coding can cause an insurance company to reject something, even if it was covered before, so fixing that could mean that the procedure or visit costs less or could be covered completely.
As with any major purchase, it pays to shop around, and health insurance is no different. If you don’t get sick very often, you may opt for a health insurance plan with a lower premium and a higher deductible. If you do use your insurance often, it may be worth choosing a lower deductible, but this also means you’ll pay a higher premium. You’ll need to compare plans and see which makes the most sense from a financial, as well as a coverage standpoint.
Many people honestly have no idea what their health insurance policy covers -- until they find out that in order to have that surgery done or that procedure, they needed a pre-authorization or a referral.
Failing to follow those required steps could leave you with a hefty bill, so if you have any questions about what’s needed before you have a major surgery or other procedure done, call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card and ask. The agents on the other line can look through your policy to determine what’s covered and how much of it is covered, so you’ll know what to expect.
Finally, if your doctor has no problem with it, you may be able to lower your out of pocket prescription costs by switching to generic prescriptions. These prescriptions must have the same active ingredients in them as their brand name counterparts, and in some states, pharmacies are legally obligated to substitute less expensive medications for prescription drugs where applicable. Be sure to check with your physician before requesting generics, as some medications don’t have them, but if they do, you could save thousands of dollars a year!