With the increase in deductibles and the reduction in health insurance benefits, it is time to negotiate and reduce the cost of medical treatment. Here are 8 ways to cut down your out-of-pocket expenses.
- Compare the cost of treatment by using CPT code – You can talk to the hospital authority to reduce the cost of treatment even after your doctor had spoken with the hospital finance department. To do so, at first, you need to have the CPT or “current procedural terminology” with you. It is actually a 5-digit billing code, same across the hospitals, and which is used to bill the procedure. You can use this code to call various hospitals and compare the cost of the same procedure, so that you can choose the most suitable one.
- Negotiate for reducing the cost of the treatment – Once you get the comparative information, that is, what different hospitals are charging for the similar treatment, you can go back to the original medical center and negotiate for a lower price for the treatment. You may be lucky and the hospital might offer a discount on the cost of the treatment.
- Do not hesitate to ask questions to your doctor – You should not hesitate to ask your doctor whether or not all the things he/she has recommended, are necessary. If your doctor comes to know that you have financial problem, then he/she might postpone a test or procedure, which may be needless for the time being. However, you need to discuss this with your doctor as he/she is the best person to make the necessary decision.
- Opt for generic medicines if possible – You might get astonished after looking at the bill even if you are comfortable with the co-pay amount and the deductible. This is because the cost of branded medicines are usually more than the generic ones. Therefore, when your doctor prescribes a medicine, ask whether the generic variety is available. It is even more better if the doctor prescribes a medicine which is on your insurer's formulary, that is, within the list of drugs for which you are covered.
- Check with your insurer before opting a procedure – Often you do not get the negotiated lower price, which your insurance company might offer to you, for the similar treatment. What is displayed in the website is usually the hospital's high list prices; whereas, your insurer might negotiate with the hospital and it may agree on a lower rate for you. Therefore, always check with the website of your insurer in order to know the actual cost of the treatment. Moreover, your physician might not have enough knowledge regarding the laboratory fees for any test; but your insurer will be able to provide you with the details.
- Order your medicines through mail – If you order by mail, you might get 3-month supplies of medicines at the price of one month. This is because usually the pharmacies supply drugs at this rate to the local pharmacies. Therefore, you may place such an order for the medicines you require regularly.
- You may consider splitting your medicines – Usually, the price of 40-mg tablets of 30-day supply, is lower than the 20-mg tablets of 30-day supply. So, ask you doctor whether or not you can split the 40-mg tablets if you are prescribed 20-mg tablets. Make sure you verify this with your doctor before doing this since all medicines are not safe to split. Similarly, you can also ask your doctor whether you can take a 20-mg tablet once a day if you have been prescribed 10-mg tablets twice a day. Your doctor will give you the answer whether it is safe for you or you need to take 10-mg tablets twice. If your doctor agrees, then you'll be able to save considerable amount on your medication.
- Look for reducing the cost of additional stuff – There are some additional stuff which may increase your hospital bill. So, if any toiletries are not included in the price of your hospital room, you can carry it yourself. However, talk to the authorities beforehand to make sure that the hospital will allow you to use your own toiletries.
Above all, compare the cost with the offered coverage, when you search for a suitable health insurance policy. Make sure you read the terms and conditions in details, so that you are aware of the policy inclusions and exclusions. This will help you negotiate for a lower price treatment or ask your doctor regarding the generic medicine, since you will have an idea regarding what is covered and what's not. In turn, it will help you opt for the right medical treatment at an affordable price.