8 Ways To Save On Healthcare Costs With A High-Deductible Health Plan
By investing your HSA funds instead of spending them for eligible medical expenses, you can accumulate a substantial nest egg to help pay for retirement medical expenses. However, paying for medical expenses out-of-pocket can seem like a daunting task, especially with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
Here are 8 simple tips to help you save on healthcare costs:
- Stay healthy. The less you have to go to the doctor, the more you save. It might seem obvious, but eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep makes a real difference for your health and your wallet.
- Tell your doctor/nurse you’re on a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). To be eligible for an HSA, you must be enrolled in a HDHP, which typically has higher deductibles than traditional health insurance. Always let your doctor/nurse know what plan you’re on and show them your insurance card; that will give them a better idea of how to serve you.
- Remember preventive care. Certain preventive services (like check-ups, regular dental cleanings, immunizations, and more) are free under CDHPs. Take advantage of those covered services (and be sure to let your doctor know they’re preventive).
- Avoid the emergency room. When possible, use your primary care physician instead of a trip to the ER. An appointment with your regular doctor or urgent care center will be far less costly than an emergency room visit.
- Ask for generic versions of drugs. If you see a drug advertised on TV, it’s probably going to be expensive. Be sure to ask your doctor if there’s a generic version of the drug that costs less. Just asking can go a long way.
- Check for samples. Doctors receive free drug samples from pharmaceutical companies. Check whether they have samples of the drugs you’re prescribed and you could end up decreasing your eliminating your cost.
- Let your provider know you’ll be paying out-of-pocket, not from insurance. Once they understand the money is coming out of your wallet, they’ll be more motivated to help you find cost-effective options. A good tip is to ask them what they would do if they were in your situation and had to pay out-of-pocket. Once they put themselves in your shoes, they may come up with cheaper alternatives.
- Be your own best advocate. Stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid to ask if a treatment or drug is necessary, even if you step on toes. Do your research on healthcare costs for different facilities and own your health.
True story: A HealthSavings teammate got poison ivy treatment for $3.50 instead of $41 just by asking if there was a generic option available.
True story: A HealthSavings teammate was scheduled for a nuclear stress test, but the testing facility was overbooked and suggested a traditional stress test instead. After confirming that there were no medical reasons to have the nuclear test, he asked how much the nuclear test cost. The person he was talking to didn’t know the cost, so he asked her to check. After looking, she told him the nuclear test cost $3,000. By switching to a traditional stress test, he saved $2,600.
Here’s what he learned from the experience:
- Check costs. You wouldn’t buy a car without first seeing how much it costs. Make sure you know how much you’ll be paying for medical expenses before you get the bill.
- Know your options. Sometimes, a generic drug or different treatment plan can have the same effect as a higher-priced alternative. Don’t go with a more expensive option unless you’re convinced of its benefits.
- Be bold. It might feel uncomfortable to push back about treatment options or ask someone to check how much a drug will cost. Don’t let that stop you. It’s your money, and it’s your health.
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