I’ve always been pretty healthy. But in 2015, my healthy self wasn’t so healthy anymore.
I was losing an alarming amount of weight. My heart was constantly racing, leaving me gasping for air.
When I finally went to the doctor, I found out a couple of things. I have an autoimmune disorder and doctors appointments and tests are VERY expensive.
As thankful as I was that it was something easily treatable, I wasn’t excited about going to the doctor on a regular basis.
Although I have insurance, each time I went to the doctor, I was paying hundreds of dollars! How is that possible?!
Because I was racking up all of these bills, I totally understood how people got into crazy amounts of debt because of their medical bills.
Although medical bills suck, being healthy is the most important thing. So take care of yourself and do what you need to do in order to stay healthy.
But while you’re at it, be smart and save as much money as you can.
Here are 5 ways to save money on medical bills that have saved me hundreds of dollars.
Practical ways to save money on medical bills
Talk to your doctor
I love getting the best prices on things but I hate asking for them. But if you don’t ask then you’ll never know, right?
After paying thousands of dollars on medical bills, I finally had to have that uncomfortable conversation on how to lower my bills.
I’ve tried to talk to the billing department and didn’t have much luck. But I didn’t stop there. During one of my regular appointments, I asked my doctor if there was any way to lower my bill.
I explained that I was on a high deductible insurance plan and I was paying a crazy amount of money out of pocket every visit.
Surprisingly she was extremely understanding and was willing to work with me in lowering my bill. She suggested dropping any test that was nice-to-have verses must-have.
Talking to my doctor saved me $50 every visit. I’ve saved at least $400 just on this one thing alone.
When I switched doctors, I had the same talk with her as well. She was super understanding too and even took it a step further.
She offered to start calling me with my lab results instead of making me come into the office. That saved me $150 each visit!!! That was a double win because I was able to save money and I didn’t have to find a babysitter every time I had to go to the doctor.
This may not work every time but it’s worth a try especially if you see specialists on a regular basis. Even if they can’t do exactly what my doctors did for me, you should communicate that you’d like to only have the procedures that are absolutely necessary or ask if there are cheaper alternatives.
Shop around for your prescription
I didn’t even know this was a thing! Did you? I mean, I remember hearing about apps that help you find the cheapest prescriptions around you but I figured that since we had insurance, we were already getting the best prices.
I was wrong.
We received a bill that my husband’s 90-day mail order prescription was going to cost $280! Say what?!?! How can generic prescription with insurance cost so much??
We were used to paying $40-$80. But for some crazy insurance related reason, we would have to pay $280 until we spent a certain amount of money towards our deductible.
Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope! There had to be a better alternative! So I googled it and found a number of apps that compared the cost of your prescriptions.
I downloaded Good Rx. It was super easy to use. I just had to enter in the prescription name, dosage, quantity, and city and found that the lowest price was 90. Y’all, this was 3 times cheaper than what I was going to have to pay because of my insurance!!!
Don’t assume that just because you have insurance that you’re getting the best prices. Always, always, always, check apps like Good Rx before buying any prescriptions.
Take advantage of employer contributions
Just like some companies match retirement accounts, some companies also contribute toward your medical expenses.
So if you don’t know if your employer does this, put it on your list of things to do. There’s nothing better than free money!
I’m on my husband’s insurance plan and we can earn up to $800 combined from his employer by completing certain things like getting our annual physical, filling out a health survey, and completing a few wellness challenges. It’s an easy way to stay on top of your health and earn a few hundred dollars at the same time.
If you are one of the lucky ones that get free money then make sure you take full advantage of it and use that money before using your own.
Unlike other businesses, doctor’s offices don’t typically post their prices on their websites. Because the cost depends on so many factors. If you’re in network or out of network, your insurance provider, your coverage, so on and so forth.
But just like shopping around for your prescriptions, you can shop around for doctors too. It takes more work and no there’s not an app that provides all this info (at least I don’t think so).
Don’t pick a crappy doctor just to save some money. Instead, come up with a list of a few (good!) doctor’s around you.
Call them and ask how you can get estimated costs for whatever you needed done. They will most likely get your insurance information and provide you a few codes that you can give to your health insurance provider.
Your insurance company will look at your specific plan and provide better estimates. The costs aren’t set in stone but they give you a good idea so you’re not completely surprised when you get the (hopefully low) bill.
Stay on top of your sh!t
It’s easy to take the back seat when you’re the patient. You go to the doctor, you get treated, you get the bill, and pay it.
Even though you’re not the professional in this situation, you should always try to stay in the know. No one is perfect and mistakes will happen.
Staying on top of everything will help you catch those costly mistakes. So ask questions, ask again, and again if you don’t understand.
Remember when I said that my doctor told me that I no longer needed the nice to have tests? Although that’s what my doctor ordered and put on my file, the lab technician would always (100% of the time) try to do all the tests.
Every. Single. Time!
And every single time, I would go in there and tell them that the doctor only wanted me to get one test done. That saved me over $50 every visit.
Yes, it’s irritating and frustrating when things like this happen when they shouldn’t. But the truth of the matter is, it does and if you don’t stay on top of it then you’ll probably be the one paying for it.