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Solutions to make your health care less expensive

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Health care doesn't have to be so expensive: Five tips to keep costs down

We all know unexpected illness can take a toll on the budget. Finding ways to save on your health care may not be as hard as you think.

Think before you act

You may not need a trip to the emergency room when your doctor's office isn't open. Remember emergency room waits can be long and they're costly.

Consider Urgent Care centers that provide patient services at lower co-payment than the ER. If you have a good relationship with your physician you should also consider calling for guidance. It's entirely possible your doctor would call in a prescription and see you in the office the next day.

Ask for generic medications

Some doctors prescribe the "latest and greatest" medications that are also either not covered by insurers or are higher co-payments.

Always ask your doctor for generic medication whenever possible. Be honest with your health care provider about what you can afford.

If you wind up at the pharmacy and surprised at the price of a drug ask your pharmacist to contact your doctor for a substitution. Never walk away and neglect getting your treatment.

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Keep up with your preventive care

Make sure you take advantage of your preventive screenings. Examples include getting your colonoscopy, mammogram, annual eye exam, prostate cancer screening and yearly blood work.

Many of the screenings are free or low co-pay. Early intervention and treatment for risk factors for major diseases will reduce your healthcare spending immeasurably in the long-run.

Take advantage of insurance value added services

Many insurance companies have mail order delivery services for medications and perhaps over the counter drugs (like aspirin) that can save money. Generic medications are often zero cost, depending on your plan.

Don't skip your dental exams

Medicare recipients can obtain a free dental cleaning and x-rays once a year. Periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke and more. Keeping up with your dental hygiene can prevent major diseases that are costly and have a negative impact on quality of life.

Health care doesn't always have to be as expensive as it might seem. Take a few minutes to explore your health insurance plan. Take advantage of minute clinics or Urgent Care centers when minor ailments arise and maintain open two-way communication with your doctor about tests you may or may not need. You'll also want to review your medication list with your doctor on a regular basis to see what could be eliminated. Finding solutions for expensive health care isn't always easy.

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