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Monday, May 20, 2024

7 Ways To Lower Your Healthcare Costs

Healthcare costs in the United States are notoriously high and continue to rise each year. In Lakeland, GA, for instance, healthcare costs are 1% lower than the national average, which offers some relief to its residents.

A recent study found that the average American spends around $13,000 per year on healthcare, which amounts to nearly 18% of the median household income. In contrast, the average household income in Lakeland is $29,988, showing that healthcare can take up a significant portion of one’s earnings.

With costs so high, many Americans, especially those in areas like Lakeland with lower average incomes, struggle to afford the medical care they need.

The good news is that there are ways to lower your healthcare expenses, even if you have insurance. Making smart choices about your care and coverage can help you reduce your medical bills and stretch your healthcare dollars further. Let’s explore seven ways you can cut your healthcare costs and make care more affordable.

1. Use a Local Pharmacy

Research shows that medications are cheaper at local pharmacies compared to the big chains, and the more prescriptions you take, the more this price difference adds up. So, check pricing at pharmacies in your neighborhood to find the best deals.

If you’re a Lakeland resident looking to make a switch, consider trying out a local pharmacy that might offer competitive prices and personalized service. A reputable Lakeland pharmacy is likely to offer perks like specialized medication consultants, and discounts.

You can also avail free delivery or automated refill reminders along with personalized care and support at some pharmacies.

With an average doctor’s visit in Lakeland costing $123.54, every saved penny can add up. Switching to a local pharmacy takes a bit more effort but offers savings that make it worthwhile. You may find a new favorite that feels more like home.

2. Choose the Right Insurance Plan

The next best step to lowering your healthcare costs is selecting the right insurance plan for your needs and budget. With the Affordable Care Act, you can shop for coverage through the health insurance marketplace and compare plans side by side.

Here are some tips for choosing the optimal plan:

– Take time to understand the different plan types – HMO, PPO, POS, HDHP, etc. Each has pros and cons.

– Look closely at the premium, deductible, copays, and maximum out-of-pocket costs. A lower premium plan may have higher deductibles.

– Make sure your medications, doctors, and hospitals are in-network to avoid higher charges.

– Consider a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you select a High Deductible Health Plan. HSAs help offset medical expenses.

– Seek out financial assistance if you qualify based on your income. This can lower your monthly premiums.

Selecting the right plan requires research and an understanding of your expected healthcare needs. But, taking the time upfront can lead to significant savings each year.

3. Use In-Network Providers

Staying in your health insurance plan’s network is critical to controlling costs. Seeing out-of-network doctors, facilities, or labs results in much higher charges, as your insurer will cover less of the bill.

Before scheduling any appointments or procedures, be sure to ask if the provider is in-network for your specific plan. You can also verify their status through your insurer’s website or mobile app.

If you need to see an out-of-network specialist, contact your insurer to check if an exception can be made. Some plans will cover out-of-network care if no provider is available in their network.

Also, check that any lab work or diagnostic imaging ordered by your doctor is performed at an in-network facility. Ask ahead of time about the labs, radiology centers, etc., they use. This prevents surprise bills down the road.

4. Use Preventive Care

Preventive services like routine checkups, cancer screenings, and immunizations are entirely covered under the Affordable Care Act – no copay or deductible is required. Taking advantage of these free services can help catch health issues early before they become more severe and costly to treat.

The recommended preventive guidelines depend on your age, gender, health status, and family history. Ask your doctor which screening tests and immunizations are proper for you, and be sure to stay up to date.

Some examples of preventive care include:

– Annual physical exam

– Mammograms

– Colonoscopy

– Prostate exam

– Flu shot

– HPV vaccine

– Bone density screening

Setting calendar reminders for your recommended preventive care ensures you get these services done regularly. An ounce of prevention truly saves pounds of cure when it comes to healthcare costs.

5. Use Generic Prescription Drugs

The cost difference between brand name and generic prescription drugs can be staggering – often hundreds of dollars per month. In most cases, generic drugs are just as safe and effective as the brand name but available at a fraction of the price.

Before filling any new prescription, ask your doctor if a generic equivalent is available. If not, inquire if another drug in the same class would work that does have a generic version. Often, a comparable generic exists.

You can also ask your pharmacist for suggestions. They can check for generics that would be appropriate substitutes for expensive brand-name medications you currently take.

Switching to generics provides significant savings while still giving you the treatment you need. Just be sure to get approval from your healthcare provider first before changing medication regimens.

6. Look Into Prescription Assistance Programs

If you are struggling to afford expensive brand-name drugs, most pharmaceutical companies offer prescription assistance programs (PAPs). These programs provide medications at reduced cost or even free to those in financial need.

Eligibility requirements vary by each drug manufacturer, but often include:

– Having limited or no prescription drug coverage

– Meeting income thresholds (e.g., up to 500% of the Federal Poverty Level)

– Residing in the U.S.

To find PAPs for brand-name drugs you take, visit websites like NeedyMeds.org and RxAssist.org. These sites maintain comprehensive databases to search by medication name.

The application process requires submitting financial documentation and your prescriber’s information. Once approved, you can receive medications directly from the manufacturer for up to 12 months.

Conclusion

Lowering your healthcare costs provides financial relief and allows you to direct those dollars to other important areas. With healthcare pricing continuing to rise each year, learning how to save is more essential than ever.

Which cost-saving measures are you willing to pursue? Can you ask your providers tough questions and advocate for yourself?

With commitment to these strategies, you can take control of your healthcare spending. Here’s to paying less for care and enjoying greater savings and peace of mind.

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HBC Editors
HBC Editorshttp://www.healthcarebusinessclub.com
HBC editors are a group of healthcare business professionals from diversified backgrounds. At HBC, we present the latest business news, tips, trending topics, interviews in healthcare business field, HBC editors are expanding day by day to cover most of the topics in the middle east and Africa, and other international regions.

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