We’ve talked about how to save money on wellness, but what if you have a real medical concern and need to see a physician yet you don’t have insurance? Or, maybe you have insurance, but just can’t find the time to mess with scheduling a visit with your general practitioner.
Going to the doctor or seeking medical treatment can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming with or without insurance coverage. Thankfully, there are ways to save time and money on healthcare services so you can get the treatment you deserve without breaking the bank or running against the clock.
Welcome to the Golden Age of Telemedicine
We can all agree that COVID has been a nightmare. However, there were a few good things to come from the pandemic. We’re talking about telemedicine, also known as telehealth services, which became more advanced and indispensable during the height of pandemic-related shut ins and quarantines.
Telemedicine allows you to seek medical advice, consultations, get prescriptions and more all from your smartphone, tablet or desktop. All you need is an internet signal, and you can consult with a physician or clinician to get care, education, medicine, monitoring and all manner of medical services through video conference or virtual meetings. Telehealth services range from getting a prescription for antibiotics to obtaining mental health help via online counseling and behavioral therapy.
So where is the money savings in telehealth? In some instances, online medical services and virtual clinical sessions are far less expensive than going to a brick-and-mortar doctor’s office or clinic. Other savings come in the form of saving on fuel to drive to a doctor’s office or treatment center. What’s more, an online doctor’s visit can mean you don’t have to lose income by taking off work to physically see a doctor. Telemedicine makes going to the doctor far more efficient, convenient and in many cases, affordable.
At Home Test Kits
In the old days, you had to go through the hassle of scheduling an appointment, and waiting forever in a cramped, germy doctor’s office in order to get a health screening. Today, you can have test kits sent directly to your home. From cancer screenings to male at home STD test kits, or food allergy assessments to testosterone tests – you can get screenings for almost any condition you can imagine sent to your home address.
What’s ultra-excellent about at-home testing is that you can conduct your screenings all from the comfort, privacy and convenience of your own home. Furthermore, results are sent to you quickly and securely so everything is clean, fast, safe, and convenient. In most cases, home test kits are far less expensive than visiting a doctor. Furthermore, there is no need to travel to a doctor’s office or adjust your schedule for an on-site visit.
Cherry Picking for Medications
If you’re not familiar, “cherry picking” is a coupon-clipper term. In the sense of saving money on healthcare services, you can cherry pick the best price for medications. You might be surprised that prices vary wildly from pharmacy to pharmacy. So, make a few calls to different pharmacies to make sure you’re getting the best price. You can save time and more money by using a service like GoodRX.com which shows you the lowest prices for prescription drugs in your area.
While we’re on the subject of medications, choose the generic version of your prescriptions. Generic meds can save you tons of money, and they have the same active ingredients as name brand drugs. In fact, you could stand to save up to 30-80% on generics over brand-name drugs.
And if you prefer or require name-brand drugs, you can still save money. To explain, many mega pharmaceutical companies give coupons, or offer discounts on their drugs, and some provide PAP (payment assistance programs) to qualifying patients. While on the topic, ask your doctor for free drug samples (they do have them), which could buffer your wallet for a little while.
Transfer Medical Records Yourself
Even with the miracle of telehealth services, sometimes physically going to the doctor is inevitable. But what if you’ve moved, or changed physicians? This is when you can save money by getting digital copies of your medical records and presenting them to your new provider yourself. To elaborate, a new physician will want to take tests and get results for exams you may have already had done at another doctor’s office. What’s the sense in paying for duplicate tests? It’s just a waste of time and money.
While physicians might not charge to get your test results and medical records from a different medical office – they will definitely charge to have new tests conducted. You can nip these extra expenses in the bud by getting your medical files yourself and show results to your new doctor to avoid needless (and expensive) testing you’ve already paid for.
Negotiate Prices Whenever Possible
You might be shocked to learn that you can negotiate the price of your healthcare bills. In many cases, doctor’s offices will provide a discount for services rendered if you pay in cash. In the instance of a hospital stay, you might also be able to reduce the cost if you pay in cash.
Speaking of hospitalizations, you may also be able to apply for financial aid or payment plans – this might not save you money, but it could help you pay your medical bills without damaging your budget.
Double Check Your Medical Bills and Insurance Statements
If you think mega insurance companies or hospitals conduct their billing processes without fault, think again. Even the best in the medical billing world are susceptible to making mistakes. That means you should scrutinize every medical bill and insurance statement for errors.
Check to make sure your co-pay has been applied appropriately; go over itemized statements with a fine toothed comb. You may find extra expenses, charges or procedures you never even had. Also, make sure you document what medical services are rendered at time of service so you have proof of what was (or was not) done and you can defend your complaint against a charge.
The Last Word on Saving Time and Money on Healthcare Services
The bad news is, healthcare can be mind-bogglingly expensive. The good news is that there are ways to skirt around many unnecessary expenses. Additionally, the advent of new technology such as telehealth and other online services have made cutting costs a more realistic outcome when saving time and money on healthcare.
Ultimately, you know what is best for you. But isn’t it nice to know you have options? You don’t have to settle for sky-high medical expenses. There are better ways to manage your time and finances and still obtain the quality medical services you deserve.
Last modified: May 19, 2022