Medical inflation still outpaces general economic inflation by a 4.5% growth rate. It can be a difficult act for employers to keep health insurance from financially squeezing their business, while also providing great benefits package for employees.There is no particular reason for healthcare costs to keep rising but there are many drivers contributing to the increases. Soaring prices for medical services, unhealthy lifestyles and a lack of transparency concerning prices and quality are all factors that greatly contribute to the spike in premiums. Employers may have more options for controlling their company’s healthcare costs than they think. It is completely the same with patients and here are some strategies to minimize costs without cutting benefits.
- Save Money on Medicines
There are at least several ways to cut costs on your medicines.You should definitely ask your health care provider if you can switch to generic medicines. The truth is that they have the same active ingredient, but cost a lot less than brand-name drugs.Make sure to ask your provider if there is a less expensive medicine that treats the same condition.Also, see if you can order your medicine through the mail.Don’t forget to take all of your medicines as directed as not taking your medicine or not taking enough medicine may lead to further health problems.
- Save Hundreds of Dollars on X-Rays and Tests
Some facilities charge hundreds of dollars more for x-rays and tests than competing providers. Sometimes, people get charged $500 for an x-ray that should be about $30 and it happens all the time. Independent radiology centers often charge less than hospitals, even though the same radiologist may be reading the x-rays. It’s common for the radiologist to be in one building in the morning and another in the afternoon. It’s the same radiologist, but one MRI costs $500 and another is $3,000.For example, a knee MRI ranges from $650 to $4,200, and a recommended fair price is $1,183.
- Use Your Benefits
Get routine health screenings whenever you can. These tests can catch health problems early, when they may be more easily treated. And you often do not have to pay copay for health screenings, vaccines, and annual visits.It’s also important to get prenatal care if you are pregnant since that is the best way to ensure you and your baby will be healthy.Some health plans offer health advocates or case managers. A health advocate can help you get the most of your benefits. A case manager can help you to manage complex health problems such as diabetes or asthma.Moreover, make sure to use free and discounted services as many health plans offer discounts on things like gym memberships or eyewear.
- Ask for a Discount
Some 61 percent of people who went to a doctor and asked for a discount actually got something. If you’ve been a loyal patient, don’t be afraid to ask if your doctor or healthcare provider can cut you a break on an office visit charge or a procedure cost. You might be surprised.
- Choose In-Network Health Care Providers
Depending on your health coverage, you may have the choice to see providers who are in-network or out-of-network. You pay less to see providers who are in-network, because they have a contract with your health plan. This means they charge lower rates which can be highly beneficial.
- Consider a High-deductible Plan
A high-deductible health plan requires you to pay a higher out-of-pocket deductible before your insurance coverage kicks in. However, monthly premiums are usually lower than traditional health plans, and if you only see your doctor once or twice a year, you may save money with this option. Just make sure you have the cash on hand to cover the deductible if you do end up needing significant care.