The economy is sick and in desperate need of a transfusion of new ideas. Everyone hopes that President Obama’s proposals for a revamp of the health care system will prove successful, but in the meantime how do you keep the sick economy from having a negative effect on your own health?
Even for the insured, the cost of copays and other out-of-pocket expenses add up quickly, whether you’re single or have a family. If you’re feeling the pinch, you’re not alone – according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 53% of respondents said they had cut back on their health care to try and save money.
Many respondents reported an increased use of over-the-counter medications or home remedies, rather than scheduling a visit to their doctor. Others said they didn’t fill prescriptions to save money; some even skipped treatment or tests that their doctor recommended.
Ignoring your doctor’s instructions could prove risky if you have a serious medical condition. But no matter health status, you can cut down on some of the costs of healthcare without having to neglect your health. What can you do?
- When you visit a doctor, make sure you’re prepared. Take along all the information the doctor might need, including paperwork and medical records if necessary. Take note of whether your health has changed recently, including energy or weight fluctuations. If you have any questions you want to ask, make a note so you don’t forget them. Being prepared for a doctor’s visit cuts down on the need for repeat visits, and helps save on copays.
- Get your test results over the phone. Most of the time you won’t need to return to your doctor to get test results, so there’s no reason to spend money on the copayment when it’s not necessary.
- Consider setting up a flexible spending account when open enrollment comes around. Flexible spending accounts let you put pre-tax dollars aside to fund certain types of medical expenses.
- Call an organization such as the Patient Advocate Foundation (800- 532-5274) if you have a chronic disease and want some help with getting the most out of your insurance plan.
- If you’re uninsured, then consider visiting a store clinic. In some locations, retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart now run clinics where you can receive routine medical care for about half the price of a doctor’s visit.
- Try and track down locations where you can receive free medical screening. Organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help you locate such programs.
- Request a quote for affordable health insurance here. Our system is able to connect you with leading health insurance carriers from across the country, and it could save you a lot of money on premiums or health care costs.
photo credit: effekt!