Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How to cut your healthcare costs

Here are some great tips from Dr. Erika Schwartz, Medical Director of Cinergy Health.

O M E N S – Five Simple Steps
1. Observe Preventative Measures
2. Manage Your Prescriptions
3. Educate Yourself
4. Negotiate Doctor’s fees
5. Scrutinize Medical Bills
• Observe Preventative Measures: Simply stated, take care of your body and mind. Eat a healthy diet, take daily nutritional supplements, choose the stairs instead of the elevator, and stay away from junk foods, alcohol and smoking. You’ll see the doctor a lot less and feel much better. It’s your life after all, so be in control of it.
o Listen to Your Doctor’s Advice: Make sure your doctor does more than just diagnose illness and prescribe medication. And assuming he/she is helping you maintain a healthy diet, exercise regimen and overall healthy lifestyle, follow the advice (but also use the internet to get a second or third opinion as necessary), and you will have more money to spend on things you enjoy.

• Manage Your Prescriptions: Prescription medications are very costly. Be sure to ask you prescribing physician or pharmacist for the equivalent, generic brand of the medication they are ordering. If a generic comparable medication is not available ask your physician if they can find a substitute from your insurance plan’s preferred drug list.

• Educate Yourself: The internet is a web of knowledge. Do your own investigating before running to the doctor’s office every time you have the sniffles. When you go to the doctor make sure you bring the information with you and ask questions. Make sure the doctor gives you acceptable answers.

• Negotiate Doctor’s Fees: Never assume the first price is set in stone.
Call your insurance company and ask for the rates they pay their doctors for the specific procedure you need (hint: it is usually lower than the price the doctor charges the patient). Approach your doctor with this information and ask them to lower their price. You may be surprised at their willingness to negotiate. If the doctor is unwilling to negotiate their fee, find another doctor who will. The same strategy applies when you are seeing an out of network doctor or seeing a doctor while uninsured.

• Scrutinize Your Medical Bills: Don’t presuppose that hospital and medical office accounting departments always pay close attention to the bills they send. Be sure to double check everything you receive and if there are any discrepancies, contact the hospital or medical offices to clear up the bill, then send the information to your insurance company promptly.

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