3 Ways to Save Money on Healthcare Expenses

by Jamie Simmerman · 6 comments

The cost of healthcare seems to rise higher and higher every year. Politics aside, there are very few solutions to the problem, but savvy consumers can learn to take advantage of a few programs to help cut healthcare costs. Here are a few ideas to help you save money on healthcare related expenses.

1. Community events. Community sponsored events like health fairs, blood pressure clinics, and health screenings are a great way to get basic services for cheaper than you would pay at the doctor’s office or hospital. By taking advantage of such events, I’ve gotten my hearing and vision checked, a suspicious mole screened by a doctor, and BMI, body fat, weight and blood pressure screenings – all for free. In years past, I’ve had dermatological screenings for skin cancer risk, blood sugar testing, cholesterol screenings, and received various freebie items such as portion control plates, stretch bands for physical therapy exercises, band aids, hand sanitizer, pill trays, and emergency medical information folders – all for free. I’ve also received certification for CPR, ACLS, and respite care and first responder training – all without paying a dime. Some areas offer free cancer screenings, PAP smears, mammograms, or prostate checks for people of a certain age. You can find out about community health events by contacting your local hospital, your doctor’s office, or your local pharmacies. Other resources to check might be your local home health agency, churches, and the Salvation Army.

2. Prescription Drug Programs. If you don’t have prescription drug coverage through your insurance, or if you still wind up paying a huge chunk of money after your insurance kicks in, alleviating some of the cost of prescriptions can be a huge relief on a strained budget. Ways to save on prescription drugs include: asking your physician about medication samples, signing up for coupons and discounts from drug manufacturers, and requesting generic drugs whenever possible. Getting your prescriptions through mail order can save you a ton of money as well. You’ll need a special 90-day prescription from your doctor to take advantage of these mail-order programs. If you’re on a specialty drug, or if you simply can’t afford your pills, you can look into special programs set up by pharmaceutical companies to have part or all of your medicine donated by the company each month. Qualifications for such programs vary, and the application process is long and tedious for some drugs, but the pay-off may be free medicine for up to a year at a time.

3. Cash Payment Option. Even if you have insurance, some healthcare service providers offer special discounts for your services if you pay in cash at the time the service is rendered. This saves the provider time and money by forgoing the billing process. For example, through my healthcare insurance, I can take my son to the chiropractor with a $40 co-pay, but if I forgo billing my insurance for the service and pay cash, the chiropractor offers a special rate of $25 for the service. My local Urgent Care facility has similar arrangements for patients who pay for their own services and those who agree to pay up-front for a portion of the cost billed to insurance. Ask your healthcare provider what options are available to you.

What money-saving tips do you have for saving money on healthcare expenses?

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  • Jim Peters says:

    Good tips and great information. The rising healthcare costs are affecting all of us today. Community events are a good idea and definitely one way of doing that. They do a lot of basic checkups that are required to ensure one is fine. I agree that cash payment is the option to get on the spot discounts which good certified financial planners too would recommend. It is a win-win situation for both, the patient and the healthcare provider, since the patient gets a substantial discount and the healthcare provider is able to forward that discount to the patient since they get immediate cash. Appreciate the information you have shared.

  • Jean says:

    Good tip about community events. They are definitely a good way to get some of the more basic checkups done at a cheaper cost. The cash payment motivation is also a good one as it works out well for both sides.

    -Jean

  • Jerry says:

    You can sometimes negotiate with the insurance company, too, or doctor’s office. It never hurts to ask and it could quite possibly lead to results!

  • Marbella says:

    The problem often lies in the whole system, here in Spain is it free hospital care which has resulted in many people visit the hospital 2-3 times each week for shit things and only for sit a few hours and talk crap with other people, a form of social existence. Some days have 3-4 doctors to take care of more than 1,000 visitors.

  • Felicia says:

    Hi.
    These tips should save quite a bit of money. Think I will get started doing this whenever possible.

    Thanks!

  • A couple things to add:
    Sign up and use a flex spending account through your employer to get a tax break. If you normally spend $1,000 a year on healthcare and are in the 25% bracket, this will shave $250 off your tax bill.

    If you have children, you can get vaccinations at your local health department for a lot less than at the normal pediatrician office. This is especially useful if your insurance doesn’t cover them.

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