It can be tough to save money on health costs in America. As a nation, the U.S spends double that of Sweden and Ireland on health care. For the average citizen it can be very difficult to see the benefit of that extra buck.
According to the American Medical Association, almost 90% of U.S health cost increases since the year 2000 have been a result of doctor visit price, drug cost spikes, and administrative costs. This means that health care costs are not actually rising due to an aging population as is popularly believed. Though troublesome, this also indicates that we have more control over what we spend on health than popular opinion indicates.
Here are five ways that your health care expenses are secretly overpriced.
- Make an ally of your doctor – Many are not aware that the price of healthcare is not universal whatsoever. Falling victim to overpricing can be explained by a lack of attention to detail. When searching for an affordable medical service, consult your primary doctor for advice. Especially since it is your primary physician that likely diagnosed you, they will naturally be in the best position to advocate on your behalf. Because the price of hospital care can vary so much, it is important to ask your doctor about his opinion on different locations. It is often the case that only particular hospitals will work closely with patients to come to a lower cost. Additionally, your doctor themselves will pose a much greater chance at negotiating a lower cost on your behalf.
- Understand the CPT code –
Too often patients go searching without knowing the cost of their procedure, leaving them prone to paying too much. Before speaking with your doctor or a healthcare provider, be sure you know the “current procedural terminology” code for the particular procedure you are seeking aid for. Using this code, you can compare the prices of a particular health care service across multiple locations.
- The billing department –
The cost of any medical treatment originates from a source, and that source is often the billing department. By going to the source and speaking with the billing department of a hospital or practioner office, you can speak directly with personnel who can alter the costs of your procedure. This is the best way to understand what costs in particular are high, giving you the best shot at having them lowered.
- Negotiate using different payment arrangements –
Often it is a particular payment method that explains why a procedure is so overpriced. If you’re lucky enough find pricing information for multiple locations, try price-matching methods with your local options. If this fails, discuss alternative payment methods. For example, you could negotiate a lower price in return for making a quicker payment than is normally expected.
- Health insurance plans –
As tedious as it may sound, changing your health insurance plan can help you save big on the costs of particular expenses. For example, millions end up spending too much because their health care plans don’t include full dental insurance. Thankfully, there are plenty of all-inclusive plans that are proven to help families and couples save money over the long term.