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Save Money on Healthcare

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The money we spend on healthcare each year is usually unpredictable. There are ways to help reduce the cost of healthcare expenses by thinking ahead and shopping around. I hope the following tips can help you save money. Please add!

Go Generic

You can save a lot by buying generic medication. Generic brands are virtually identical to the real thing in most cases.  They are cheaper because the manufacturer did not have to spend money for the start-up and development costs, not because it is poorer quality. Talk with your doctor if you want to switch to generic for certain drugs, such as ADHD drugs or controlled substances.

Many pharmacies have cheap antibiotics and other medications, such as the $4 prescriptions at Walmart and Target. You can also get some generic antibiotics for free at Publix, Giant, Meijer, Stop & Shop, and Wegmans. You can get Free prenatal vitamins and Schnucks and Meijer.

Make a Pharmacy List

Post a list of pharmacies on your fridge or near your phone. If you live near a store with free or cheap antibiotics or medicine you regularly take, make a section for those drugs. Many stores, such as CVS, offer rewards and store cash for using their pharmacy. Some offer gift certificates for new or transferred prescriptions. Check your local pharmacy for promotions and details.

Use a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account

Check to see if your employer has this program. You can set aside pretax dollars for many heath-related costs that aren't covered by insurance. You can't have both of these programs so see which one is right for you here

Negotiate Your Bill

Talk to your doctor or the hospital billing department to see if you can get a discount by paying beforehand or creating a payment plan. I know of practices and hospitals who have even accepted artwork, yard work, or other services in exchange for payment. Explain your situation and you might be able to work something out. Even if you can't reduce the cost, you may be able to develop a payment plan. It is best to discuss this as soon as possible if not before you receive treatment.

Shop for the Best Plan

Don't just choose the plan with the lowest deductible. put your family's health needs into mind. Remember to read small print. Sometimes the cheap dental has $0 co-pay, but won't pay for a root canal. If you live near a dental school, see if they have clinics. If they do, you can get cleanings at the clinics. The students are under supervision of a dentist and it is much cheaper than going to a practice. 

Look at your Bills

I have been overcharged or charged twice many times so I always do this before taking out the checkbook. If there is a charge you do not understand, call and ask. It may have been a computer or entry error. You can save money by catching these errors and it helps the clinic or office be aware of common errors. 

Ask for Samples

Doctors and Dentists always have samples from Pharmaceutical Reps. If you want to try a certain prescription or medication (or just need and Advil) ask your doctor if you can have a sample. Doctors also often have trial prescriptions. You can also find coupons for certain prescriptions online (remember, you still need your doctor to write the prescription). 

Only go to the ER for Emergencies or After Calling the Doc

If you or someone in your family is sick, call the doctor before going to the ER. Some doctor's offices take patients on the weekends for emergencies. There is always a doctor on call so don't hesitate to call if you have a health concern. The doctor knows the bugs going around and can often tell what you have over the phone. He may suggest you go to the ER or a clinic, but it is better to call the doc first because he can often call the hospital and they can try to get you through quickly. If you don't have insurance, check and see if there is a  clinic in your area.

Never Pay Full Price for Glasses

Before buying glasses in-store, shop for some discounted frames and contacts online. Many sites let you "try" the frames by uploading a picture or have free returns if they don't work for you. Contacts are almost always cheaper online. Just make sure you have your prescription handy!

Different plans for Different People

My son was born 15 weeks early and his bills easily exceeded a million dollars. Because he was born early, we had problems with his health insurance kicking in. He also required treatments that weren't covered by our insurance. Although my husband and I did not qualify, he was able to qualify for Medicaid under disability to cover some of the costs not paid for by our insurance. Once he got out of the hospital, we put him on a separate insurance so things like special treatments and medications and weekly occupational therapy sessions could be covered. One insurance may not be the best choice for everyone. Discuss your needs and decide on the best plan. It may even be cost effective to have different plans.

Why should we only settle for saving on food, clothes, and electronics. Discounts are everywhere and you can save a substantial amount on healthcare. One of the best ways to save on healthcare is STAY HEALTHY! Stop smoking, eat well, exercise, and be careful. Look both ways when you cross the street or maybe decide to skip sky diving this weekend. Unfortunately, getting sick is pretty much inevitable so prepare for expenses beforehand and do your research so you can pay the lowest price. :)

VirginiaPeanuts posted Feb 21, 2012

Nice Article! I was recently in a state of panic as I am on my parents health plan but part of the requirement to stay on the plan was to be at least a part time student. Since I graduated last month I started shopping for a private plan that would fit my need. Then a friend of mines mentioned that due to the new Obama Health Plan, I'm covered until the age of 26. Thank goodness for that :)

AgentGhost (DealsPlus mod) posted Feb 21, 2012


Super article, VirginiaPeanuts! We are loaded down with Medical and Health Insurance Bills! Will use some of the Great Info you have in this piece to try to help us a bit! Thank you! :)

FibroMom (rep: 240k) posted Feb 21, 2012


Thanks :)

VirginiaPeanuts (rep: 12.4k) posted Feb 21, 2012


Super cool, thanks!!!

Maxilaserpointer (rep: 6) posted Feb 23, 2012