Healthcare costs are on the rise for everyone in the U.S., and according to the New York Times, about one in four families have had difficulty paying medical bills during the past year.
You do not have to let medical bills destroy your financial stability. But what can you do to reduce your medical expenses? Listed here are seven cost-reducing tips for you and your family to consider:
TIP #1: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR HEALTH
Probably the best way that you can lower your medical costs to take pro-active care of your own health.
If you are sick or injured, do not try to save on your medical bills by avoiding the doctor. If you’re suffering anything more than a bruise, a scratch, or a common cold, your condition is probably going to decline – and cost a great deal more in the long run – if you do not act quickly.
There’s still a grain of truth in the old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. A healthy diet combined with regular exercise can substantially reduce your risk for heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a weight loss of ten percent can reduce the average person’s medical expenses by $5,300 over a lifetime.
TIP #2: UNDERSTAND YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE
Health insurance policies can be quite complicated, but understanding precisely what your health coverage does and does not provide will help you make the right decisions regarding your health.
You can’t give finances the top priority when you make healthcare choices, but when you make those choices, you must take your health insurance coverage into consideration.
TIP #3: ASK THE DOCTOR QUESTIONS – AND GET PRECISE ANSWERS
Be sure to have your doctor answer all of your questions and concerns regarding your medical procedures, tests, and prescriptions. And be certain that whatever is recommended to you is medically necessary, especially if your health insurance has a high deductible or co-pay.
It’s also always smart to get the generic version – rather than the “name brand” version – of any medications that are prescribed to you.
TIP #4: ASK ABOUT DISCOUNTS
While no one wants “discounted” medical care, you might be surprised by what is routinely available. The key to saving money on medical bills is simple: You have to ask.
Healthcare providers usually won’t tell you upfront about any deals or discounts. You must be proactive and pursue the discounts that you might qualify for.
Some healthcare providers, for example, offer discounts to patients who pay in cash, because that substantially reduces the paperwork. And almost every healthcare provider offers some type of long-term payment plan.
TIP #5: DO THE RESEARCH
Most of us would never think about buying a home or a car – or even planning a vacation – without doing some research about the cost. You should think of a medical test or procedure in the same way.
Whether it is an examination, a test, or a surgical procedure, find out what your own healthcare provider is charging, and then do the research to learn if those prices are in line with the average prices.
If you believe that you are being charged too much, compile your research and tell your healthcare provider’s billing department that you want to negotiate the costs before moving forward with the exam or procedure.
TIP #6: SCRUTINIZE YOUR MEDICAL BILLS CAREFULLY
The American Medical Association has reported that seven out of every one hundred medical bills in the United States include a billing error. Patients are overcharged and are even sometimes charged for services that were never provided.
Auditing your medical bills really can save you money. Everybody makes mistakes. Examine every medical bill closely, and compare each bill against the benefits statement provided by your health insurer.
Always ask for an itemized bill that lists each charge separately.
If you find billing errors or other mistakes, call your insurance company and/or your healthcare provider. Unless there’s a dispute regarding a particular charge, a simple billing mistake can usually be resolved over the telephone.
TIP #7: DETERMINE IF YOU HAVE STANDING TO FILE A LAWSUIT
If you are injured in the state of Florida because another person was negligent, compensation is your right, and in most cases, the negligent party will be obligated by law to reimburse your medical expenses and lost wages.
However, it is imperative to speak – as quickly as possible – with an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence in:
1. a traffic collision
2. a workplace accident
3. an incident of medical malpractice
4. any kind of accident caused by negligence on private or public property
WHAT CAN AN ACCIDENT ATTORNEY DO TO HELP YOU?
A good personal injury lawyer will know what it takes for your lawsuit to prevail. In most cases, your injury attorney will negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the person or persons responsible for your injury, and a courtroom proceeding will not be required.
If your case does become a personal injury trial, your attorney will fight aggressively for the compensation you need to cover all of your injury-related medical costs, lost wages, and more.
And if another person’s negligence is the reason why you’ve been injured, it won’t cost you anything to learn more about your case or to get the legal process launched.
Accident attorneys provide a free first consultation and case review. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll pay an accident attorney only when that attorney has obtained a settlement or a verdict on your behalf.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER ABOUT REDUCING MEDICAL EXPENSES?
By making a diligent effort to learn more about your health insurance coverage, by seeking discounted prescriptions and service, and by reviewing your medical bills meticulously, you’ll manage those bills more efficiently, and you may also be able to lower your costs.
In those unfortunate situations where your injury or illness has been caused by someone else’s negligence, immediately consult an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney regarding your legal rights and options.
A good Orlando Personal Injury Attorney will protect your rights, offer you sound legal advice, and if necessary, will fight aggressively for compensation – and for justice – on your behalf.
When you’ve been injured by negligence, you are entitled by Florida law to compensation. If you’ve been injured, exercise that right and get the legal help that you need. Nothing is more important than your health and your future.