Health care costs have skyrocketed over the past few decades and do not appear to be going down significantly any time soon. Since nobody wants to spend any of their hard earned money unnecessarily, are there ways we can limit what we pay for health care? The answer is a resounding yes, and throughout this article we will look at a few things each and every one of us can do.
It’s simple – eat better!
The American Center for Disease Control claims that 75% of health care costs come from chronic diseases (eg. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes). The nice thing about chronic diseases, assuming there is a nice thing, is that they are generally preventable. We are talking about making some lifestyle changes, but these alterations to your lifestyle can save you a lot of money.
Cut out smoking entirely
This should go without saying, if you don’t want to spend extravagant money on health care – just quit smoking right now. Smoking literally affects every single organ and function of the body and chances are, it will make you sick at some point not too far into the future.
Get some exercise
Eating better is a good start, but combining that with some good cardio will go even further to ensure you stay out of the doctor’s office and keep your hard earned cash in your pocket. Just thirty minutes a day can strengthen your heart and help boost your immune system. Making eating right and exercising a part of your daily routine now is a great way to be healthier later.
What’s up Doc?
I admit it – I hate going in for check-ups when I feel perfectly strong and healthy, but seeing your doctor regularly can help identify issues before they become costly problems. A doctor will also encourage such things like mammograms or blood pressure tests which can cost something; however, these screenings help prevent diseases that will cost much more over a much longer period of time.
Can you negotiate?
This might be news to some, but negotiating the price of your bill is not out of the question. There have been documented cases where patients have talked down the price of a procedure. Additionally, most medical bills have errors. When I say most, its actually closer to 97%! This makes it an absolute necessity to verify every charge on that bill before you pay! These bills occasionally are very complex, and if you don’t understand it there are medical bill auditors who will inspect your bill and help avoid paying for those costly “errors”.
Do some window shopping!
Unless you are locked in to a specific doctor or hospital, shopping around a little bit before having any type of procedure done is a great idea. Much like the retail world, hospitals all charge varying amounts for the same procedure. Going ‘next door’ could potentially save hundreds, if not more.
Many people go to the doctor for the smallest aches and pains. This gets costly! Use proper judgment and just stay at home for some of these. It’s a doctor’s job to sell you something, and if he thinks there is potential to make some money off your visit – he will! Secondly, try to avoid the ER. Other types of clinics or convenience care centers will charge fractions of the cost for the exact treatment you would receive in the emergency room. Many also suggest switching to generic drugs, take for example the well-known drug Prilosec. Switching to a generic version can save more than 4000 dollars a year!
The tips provided here are just scratching the surface, there are dozens of precautions and other tasks that can lower your health care costs. A simple internet search before going in for a procedure can save hundreds of dollars! Watch those bills carefully, because things will show up using confusing verbiage. If it feels like you might be paying too much – you probably are! Also, depending on what country you are in, check and see if tax breaks are offered for health care costs. If you have discovered anything else to trim money off a health care bill, please share in the comments!