Health on a Budget: Managing Medical Expenses in a Troubled Economy

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medical costsAs anyone who’s been at the mercy of the American health care system can tell you, staying healthy isn’t cheap. With the rising cost of doctor visits and skyrocketing insurance premiums, health has become the enemy of frugality. However, if you know where to look for savings, you can receive quality medical care without breaking the bank.

Online Pharmacies

With insurance companies becoming more selective about the types of medications their plans will cover, switching to a reliable Mexican pharmacy online can be an effective way to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. In addition to accepting a wide range of insurance plans, online pharmacies provide customers with considerably lower prices than they’ll find at brick and mortar drugstores. In their efforts to offer the best deals possible, many online pharmacies feature an impressive array of generic alternatives to high-priced name brand meds.

Not only do online pharmacies offer unbeatable deals on prescription medications, they also feature wide selections of discounted beauty products, vitamins, pain relievers and other drugstore staples. So if you’re tired of spending too much money every time you visit your neighborhood drugstore, talk to your doctor about the advantages of purchasing medications online.

Friends and Family Members Who Work in Medicine

In these troubled times, it’s never been more important to help each other out. If you have any untreated ailments or pressing medical concerns, seek out friends or family members who work in the medical field. Having a doctor in your inner circle is ideal, but nurses and nurse practitioners are also able to diagnose minor ailments and recommend treatment plans. When it comes to potentially serious medical problems, there’s no substitute for a seasoned doctor’s advice. However, talking to knowledgeable acquaintances can help you make the distinction between negligible problems and ailments for which you should seek further treatment.

To show your loved ones how much you appreciate their advice, take them out to a nice meal or buy them a small token of your gratitude. With medical costs where they are, you’ll still come out ahead. Alternatively, depending on your profession, you may be able to engage in a mutually beneficial barter system with medically-inclined friends and family members.

Hospital-Sponsored Financial Aid

health care worker and senior womanBargain seekers who frequently visit their health care providers should look into taking advantage of hospital-sponsored financial aid. These programs are designed to reduce medical costs for individuals who are uninsured, underinsured or out of work. After submitting a number of documents — including bank account statements, pay stubs, tax returns and proof of ID — the hospital’s financial aid department will determine your degree of eligibility. Depending on their findings, you may be eligible for anywhere from a 10 to 100 percent discount on future medical bills.

Keep in mind to save money, you have to ask questions. You’d be surprised by the number of doctors who are unaware of the financial aid options offered by their own employers. So if you’re intrigued by the idea of hospital-sponsored financial aid, take it upon yourself to meet with one of your hospital’s financial advisors to discuss your options.

Health Care Marketplace

If you’re uninsured or dissatisfied with your current plan, pay a visit to the government-sponsored Health Care Marketplace. After providing income information and offering proof of ID, you’ll be greeted with a plethora of affordable insurance plans for which you are automatically eligible. Better yet, you can sign up for one of these plans with nothing more than a few simple mouse clicks.

Your annual income determines how much you’ll be charged for each plan, so plans formerly out of your price range will become easily affordable. After paying a certain percentage of your monthly premium, the government will cover the rest of the bill. As an added bonus, pre-existing conditions won’t inhibit your eligibility.

Negotiating

As is the case with hospital-sponsored financial aid programs, bargain hunters will benefit asking questions. A fair number of doctors — both private practice and hospital-based — are open to negotiating medical costs; you just need to ask. After explaining your lack of insurance coverage or less-than-ideal financial situation to your physician, you may find that she’s willing to give you a sizable discount or extend payment due dates. As Fitness Magazine reports, many doctors are sympathetic to their patients’ financial woes.

Living in a stagnant economy teaches us there are many things we can do without. Health care, however, should not be one of them. When searching for ways to reduce medical costs, your options aren’t as limited as you may think.

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This article was submitted by a guest author.  Guest blogging provides an avenue to share a variety of different points of view with a broad audience.  It is a good way to share cumulative knowledge as well as introducing readers to a new author.  Learn more about how to become a contributor for Riches Corner.

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