Want to save money on healthcare costs? Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to take the sting out of some medical bills.
Before you enter a facility for services, it is important to understand the type of care they provide and the cost.
For example, you may find there is a big difference in price for a service that you obtain at a walk-in clinic versus urgent care or an emergency room. If you have health insurance, it is a good idea to read over the plan at least a couple of times per year so that you understand your coverage, the options for obtaining services and special benefits that your plan may offer, such as price comparison tools. You may find a big difference in price from one healthcare group or pharmacy to another.
In some cases, you might be able to save money by paying cash versus having a claim submitted through your health insurer. But, this can be tricky. If the provider has a contract with your insurer, they may not allow you to pay cash because of the contractual terms that they have to honor with your insurer. It is always a good idea to ask the provider if it will allow a cash payment versus submitting it through an insurer. If they require a claim to be filed, you might want to shop around for other options such as providers that are out of network or who do not bill insurance for products or services.
In addition to checking with your insurer, the Wisconsin Hospital Association has two sites that can help you to learn about quality and price comparisons for products, procedures or services. Wisconsin Check Point provides information about quality for conditions and medical facilities. Wisconsin Price Point offers price comparison information for procedures and services at hospitals in our area. You might also be able to do some price comparison by calling pharmacies or other providers and asking for pricing information about a particular drug or service.
If you get hit with an unexpected high medical bill, contact the provider and ask if it would be willing to negotiate a discount or offer a payment plan. Depending upon your circumstances, they may offer some solutions that can help make things more affordable.