Health care is an essential part of our lifestyle. With insurers switching to coinsurance and increasing deductibles, most of us are bearing a larger portion of the cost. This causes us to take charge of our healthcare expenses, yet many of us are unaware of medical care costs. Here are some ways to maintain the level of quality during treatment while not paying too much for it.
Step 1: Visit only in-network providers. Insurers negotiate lower rates for in-network services. Make sure that all providers involved in a procedure and any specialists your primary care physician refers you to are in-network. Taking this extra step prevents you from paying out-of-network deductibles and higher rates.
Step 2: Find out about alternate facilities like outpatient surgery centers. They may charge much less than a hospital, whether or not you have medical insurance. Ask each facility to break out costs, detailing the anesthesiologist, doctor, and facility fee separately to provide a better comparison.
Step 3: When a doctor orders an x-ray or lab test, patients can fill this requisition form at any facility. If you have not met the annual deductible of your policy or you have coinsurance payments, find out what independent facilities charge. Often, the doctors are the same as those at the in-network facility.
Step 4: Investigate costs for visiting convenience care clinics like the Minute Clinic at CVS stores. Some insurers waive coinsurance payments when an insured gets service at these. Also, find out whether urgent care centers are in-network and what they charge. This can save hundreds from getting treatment at an in-network emergency room. Some insurers offer a nurse-staffed 24-hour hotline providing free advice to insureds regarding medical and facility questions. Insureds can call this to determine whether an emergency room visit is necessary.
Step 5: Inquire whether extra discounts are available to use specific providers. Aetna has Aexcel doctors and Choose and Save hospitals that meet certain criteria for efficiency and quality. Some plans reduce coinsurance by ten to 15 percent when a patient uses one of these.