It’s no secret that medical expenses in the United States can be high, even for seemingly minor procedures. But you don’t want the cost to get in the way of getting the best care you can. There are many ways to reduce the fees associated with medical care. Here are seven ways to cut costs and get the care to keep you healthy.
GoodRx is a service that gives patients access to discounted medications. Signing up can save you up to 80% on the cost of prescriptions. When you sign up for the free app, you just enter the name of your medication. The app will tell you where you can purchase it nearby for the biggest discount, issued as a coupon.
These coupons can’t be used with insurance. But even when you have insurance, it’s worth checking to see what discounts you can get. In some cases, it might be worth it to use the GoodRx rate instead of the rate you get through your insurance company.
Some providers, like the Community Health Partners clinics in Bozeman, Belgrade and Livingston, offer services on a sliding fee scale. These income-based fees mean that you can get access to necessary medical care without worrying about the cost. Check with your clinic to see how their sliding fee scale works.
In the United States, private insurance or services like Medicare or Medicaid are important for saving on medical bills. If you don’t qualify for insurance coverage through your employer, you can apply for insurance online through the health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov. You can also easily apply for medical assistance through the Montana Department of Health and Human Services online application.
If you do have insurance, try to find providers in your insurance network. The insurance companies negotiate rates with a group of healthcare providers. That’s why they cover more of the costs with these select clinics and medical professionals. You can reduce costs by making appointments with someone in your insurance network. You should be able to look up in-network providers on your insurance company’s website. Or ask your provider if your plan covers your visits before you book.
When your provider recommends labs or a procedure, it’s okay to ask about the cost. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. If English isn’t your first language, ask about getting information translated into your native language so you can understand the details better. Understanding costs and knowing how to cover medical fees are important parts of deciding which care options are right for your situation.
If a medical situation could lead to someone’s death or loss of limb or vision, call 911 right away. And if a problem impacts your entire system, like an allergy attack or severe pain, go straight to the emergency room. But for certain health problems, a trip to urgent care might be the right choice instead.
Urgent care is not emergency care, but these walk-in clinics can often take care of many problems that can’t wait for an appointment with your primary care provider. An urgent care visit usually costs less than a trip to the ER. Learn when you can go to a walk-in clinic or urgent care and when you need to head straight to the emergency room.
Prioritizing preventative care is a major way to help reduce healthcare costs over time. Preventing major illnesses and injuries where possible reduces medical costs in the long run. You can catch potential health problems early when they’re more easily treatable. And you’ll also need less care over time when you can stay healthier. Preventative care can be as simple as regular exercise, a healthy diet, routine hearing and vision tests, and other regular health screenings.
Preventative care starts with a visit to your primary care provider. Make an appointment at a CHP clinic in Bozeman, Belgrade, or Livingston. A sliding fee scale and preventative care visits make healthcare more affordable at Community Health Partners clinics.