Monday, January 23, 2012

Save Money on Medical Expenses

Last year we spent over $4,000 on medical expenses.  Broken down that's over $300 a month!  A big chunk for a family living on only one steady income.  So, this year I'm on a mission to spend less on medical.  I am also looking to the future.  What we do and eat today will affect our health tomorrow.

To start out you should thoroughly examine your medical coverage.  See what is covered and which physicians are covered.  One mistake of going to a doctor out of network could cost you big time.  Always call and check because if you're looking in a book or online they may not update the network lists that often.

 Make sure you take advantage of any programs.  With our insurance I logged in and got a $50 debit card to use on medical expenses just for doing a health assessment and taking coaching classes.  It only took about 30 minutes of my time to get it.   Last year I got $100 taken off of my deductible for taking the health assessment.  Well worth the 30 minutes it took to do it.  They also sent us the above pedometers for free just for doing the assessment.  Our insurance offers a deep discount at participating gyms as well.  Set aside a time and check out the site or give your company a call.  Get the most for your money!

Once you get a medical bill double check it.  Compare it to what your coverage is.  I've found errors on about 75% of all medical bills I get back.  Make sure you take the time to call and get it all straight.  It may take several calls, but it's worth the effort to save you money.

If you get a bill that is more than what you can pay call and ask for a payment plan.  Or if you do not have coverage you can offer to pay a certain amount up front at a deep discount.  A lot of times doctor's will accept cash up front even if it's less than what they bill.  They don't have to worry about billing or chasing down the money owed.

Check with your employer and see if they offer a Flex Spending Account.  Basically what this does is take money out of your pay pre-taxes and set it aside for qualified medical expenses.  Since the money is taken out pre-tax it can save you a substantial amount with payroll taxes.

When it comes to prescriptions ask for generics.  As long as they have the same active ingredients why would you pay a $25 copay when so many pharmacies offer $4 on long lists of generic brand prescriptions?  Granted some prescription types don't offer a generic brand yet, but if they do I suggest giving it a try to save you big moulah!
I also suggest checking into mail order pharmacies if your insurance offers it.  One of my son's prescriptions usually costs us $39 a month copay at a retail pharmacy, but if we purchase a 3 month supply through mail order it's only $90.  Although $90 seems like a big chunk to come up with all at once it saves us $27 - making his monthly supply $30 instead of $39.  Over a year this saves us $108.

Us in the couponing field know that about 90% of the foods we get for free or cheap aren't exactly healthy for you.  Sure, fresh produce coupons are hard to come by, but that doesn't mean that you should eat less of them.  Fruits and veggies are very important to our diets.  Don't scrimp on this!  It's very important to eat healthy or you will in turn spend more on medical expenses.  Make sure you take vitamins as well.  Stores usually offer excellent deals on them so make sure you grab some.

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