The American health insurance system is complicated; in 2017, one in five uninsured adults went without healthcare because they couldn’t afford the medical costs.
Those who are uninsured, or whose insurance costs are too high, often find themselves skipping routine healthcare or seeking medical treatment for injuries and illness because they can’t afford the exorbitant expenses.
In 2013, 44 million people didn’t have health insurance. Medicaid expansions have helped more people gain access to insurance, but the problem with paying for healthcare still persists. If you find yourself struggling, here are some ways you can cut back and preserve your income without going untended.
If you have health insurance, make sure you understand what type you have and how it works. There are different types of health insurance, and each one has its own limitations and benefits.
Some types of health insurance, like an HMO or PPO, use networks of doctors and pharmacies. Going outside of your insurance network for services can cost you double the price of care, even if a provider accepts your insurance.
Choose Generic Medications
Use GoodRX.com to learn about your prescription medications and their generic alternatives. Generic medications still have the same potency as brand-name drugs, but they often cost much less. Many people are worried that choosing a cheaper generic medication means its less effective, but this isn’t the case.
Generic drugs are regulated by the FDA, and they’re only cheaper because their manufacturers didn’t have to pay for the expense of creating and developing the medication in the first place.
Use Clinics for Chapter Services
You can get tested for STDs and have many routine health services performed at smaller medical clinics rather than going to the ER or paying out-of-pocket for a doctor.
Don’t Go to the ER Unless You Have To
Look for health clinics and urgent care facilities for routine procedures and treatments. You should not go to the emergency room unless you’re actually experiencing a medical emergency. Doing so will give you a massive bill that can easily surpass $10,000, even if you only wound up getting an ice pack or a few stitches.
Review Your Medical Records and Question Procedures
Get copies of your medical reports from every doctor and bring them with you whenever you have a new appointment. Often, people don’t even remember what tests or procedures they’ve had in the past, so they wind up paying double to have the same thing done again.
Make sure you question your doctor when they recommend a treatment or test. Is this really necessary? What does it look for? Is there a more affordable alternative that can check for the same thing?
Preventative Care is Key
Stay fit, eat well and get tested for STDs annually. Preventative care is the most important form of healthcare, and it’s the best way to prevent accidental injury, illness and save on medical costs.