This is the second half of a list of ways to save money on medical care, here on Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals. The first article is called “5 Tips for Saving Money on Medical Costs”; all the tips are from Ethan Ewing of Bills.com.
Before the tips, a quip:
“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.” ~ Mark Twain
A huge part of saving money on medical care costs is taking care of your physical health…which can involve eating what you don’t want to eat and doing what you don’t want to do (like exercising!). For more ways to stay healthy, read Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating by Walter Willett and P.J. Skerrett.
And, read on for Ewing’s five tips for saving money on medical care costs…
5 More Tips for Saving Money on Medical Care Costs
1. Get the flu vaccine – A flu shot or inhaled flu mist can avoid a bout of nasty illness, with days or even weeks of associated time off work. How this saves money on medical care: Flu shots typically cost about $25 (cheaper than getting sick!). Save more by seeking out a local nonprofit organization that counts part of the fee as a tax-deductible charitable donation.
For other ways to stay young and healthy, read 7 Anti-Aging Tips for a Long Healthy Life.
2. Read medical bills – Some experts estimate that eight of 10 medical bills contain errors or inflated charges. How to save money on medical care: Ask for an itemized bill and read it carefully. Protest any erroneous charges to negotiate a lower fee. Review payments from insurance providers for accuracy, too, since providers often require patients to pay any difference between their usual charges and what the insurance company pays.
3. Stay trim – A recent study claims that obesity accounts for 9 percent of all U.S. medical costs. In addition, an obese person has $1,429 per year more medical costs, or about 42 percent more, than someone of normal weight. How to save money on medical care costs: Eat moderately and exercise to keep body mass index below 30.
For more health tips, read 10 Ways to Prevent a Heart Attack – From History to Your Mouth.
4. Avoid the Medicare “doughnut hole” – Medicare-eligible patients with Part D prescription coverage must watch for the coverage gap, also known as the “doughnut hole.” After patients spend a certain amount on prescription drugs, they must pay all drug costs out of pocket until they reach a higher level of prescription expenses. Plus, Medicare applies the entire retail cost of drugs — not just the patient’s co-payment — to the coverage limits. How to save money on medical care: Ask physicians to prescribe lower-cost or generic medications whenever possible.
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5. Consider medical tourism – In 2007, 1.5 million people traveled just to Thailand for medical care. Some U.S. insurers allow Americans to travel overseas to receive more cost-effective medical care. How to save money on medical care: Many insurance companies do not cover overseas procedures, so ask first. Traveling might be worthwhile for those who pay out of pocket. Be sure to go to a medical facility accredited by the Joint Commission International to help ensure reliable, quality care.
To read Ewing’s other ways to save money on health care, go to 5 Tips for Saving Money on Medical Costs.
If you have any thoughts on these tips for saving money on medical care costs, I welcome your comments below…
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