It is as human to err as it is to fall sick from time to time. Health issue exist universally, that is true, but the level of treatment and the cost associated with it varies greatly across the world. If you are lucky enough to afford a blanket insurance policy, consider yourself lucky because the vast majority of people around the world do not have access to affordable healthcare, or in the most extreme cases, they don’t have access to healthcare at all.
Even those who can pay for effective treatments are faced with huge, unexpected medical bills which can leave them in debt for years. John Oliver’s show on this matter was particularly enlightening and heart warming as revealed the medical debt crisis and went on to pay the debt of thousands of people during that very show.
Medical care is expensive in most developed countries and that can be troubling for retirees. We may save as much money as possible up until our retirement, but sometimes that’s not enough.
This article approaches the problem from the perspective of patients by sharing a few ways they can reduce their medical and healthcare bills.
Remember to ask your doctor before following these tips, because this article should not be considered medical advice.
1. Good hygiene and a healthy lifestyle can cut your medical costs in the long run
This is simply common sense so I won’t delve into it much. Stay active, eat healthy food and keep yourself clean, by regularly washing your hands and bathing.
2. Allergy-proof home to reduce allergy related medical costs
As per the Eurostat website one of the leading causes of diseases across the European Union is respiratory diseases, and high levels of outdoor and indoor pollution are to blame for that. We can control the amount of indoor respiratory irritants, such as mold, pet dander and dust, by keeping our home clean by:
- Ensuring proper ventilation of all rooms to prevent dampness,
- Wiping dust off different surfaces of our room,
- Keeping pets out if you are allergic to them.
3. Preventative medicines and screening tests cut your long term medical expenses
We’re lucky to live at a time when we can prevent a wide range of deadly diseases and determine the risk of developing health conditions. Vaccines can help us prevent the onset of different diseases such as measles, chickenpox, tuberculosis, and so on. Similarly, different screening tests can pick up a variety of health conditions, such as cancer, cardiac issues, osteoporosis, at early stages of progression, which makes the treatment shorter, cheaper and more effective.
4. Medical tourism can save you plenty of money
Medical tourism is the idea of seeking healthcare services in a city or country other than your own. The motivating factor is usually cost because healthcare in the United States is rather expensive, and patients can get similar levels of medical services in other countries for a fraction of the cost, even when the transport costs have been considered. We’ve covered this concept on this blog previously in a detailed interview so be sure to check it out if you’re interested. We wrote an article about medical tourism too, if you’re interested in more details.
5. Effectively use your insurance policy to save money
If you have an insurance policy, make sure you fully understand it’s terms so you don’t miss out on any privileges being offered. Collect all your receipts for reimbursement on time and avail any payouts and discounts you may be entitled to.
6. Generic medicines are cheaper and as effective as branded ones
According to the FDA, generic drugs are as effective and safe as their branded counter parts because they pass the same strict approval process that branded drugs face. These types of drugs can save you substantial sums of money in the long run because they are sold at a discount compared to branded drugs. Consider asking your doctor about generic alternatives to your current branded medicines.
7. Negotiate your medical bill
Some doctors, whether they practice at hospitals or through private clinics, are willing to give you a discount on your medical bill of you choose to negotiate it. It’s best to negotiate the bill before treatment begins, while you are considering different hospitals as your final choice. However, it’s also possible to get a lower healthcare bill if you ask the doctor post surgery or checkup.
8. Look for errors in the Medicsi bill
Just like bills at restaurants, it’s possible for hospitals to make erroneous medical bills. When you receive your hospital bill, ask for an itemized bill that discloses the costs of various tests, medicines, procedures and other services like food and physiotherapy. If you feel you have been overcharged, ask the hospital staff to clarify the matter.
- Ask a professional medical bill reviewer
It is possible to limit your medical expenses by simply taking better care of yourself. While that may not promise zero trips to the doctor, because life is unexpected and a decline in one’s health is a natural part of life, a healthier body is less likely to need expensive treatments that can lead to medical debts.