Medical Expenses Don't Have To Bleed You Dry

Cutting Back on Medical Expenses

If you don't have health insurance, medical expenses can literally bankrupt you. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the ridiculously high costs of health care. While these tips may not be as good as actually have an employer-paid health care policy, they are the next best thing.

Everything's Negotiable

When it comes to medical expenses, never pay more than you have to. Many doctors and health care groups will offer a discount to patients who don't have insurance. The funny thing is, less than 15 percent of uninsured patients ever ask for a break.

How much of a discount can you get? It varies from one health care establishment to the next. Some doctor's offices only offer a five percent discount off of medical expenses while others have been known to cut rates by 20 percent. In rare circumstances, you may be able to talk your doctor into charging you half of his normal fees since that's typically what many insurance companies will pay.

Sometimes You Can Forget the Follow-Up

Medical expenses are high enough without having to pay $50 to $150 for a follow up. When you visit your doctor, explain that you are paying your medical expenses out of pocket and that unless the follow-up is absolutely necessary, you'd like to decline. If the follow-up is necessary, ask your doctor if he'll waive the fee or if he can reduce it since follow-up visits usually take very little time at all.

Forget the Hospital Pharmacy

Hospital pharmacy costs can really add on to your medical expenses. If at all possible, avoid using the hospital's pharmacy. Some hospital pharmacies have been known to charge $10 for a pill that costs 10 cents somewhere else.

Don't Let the Hospital Take Advantage

Technically, if you're discharged by a certain hour you shouldn't have to pay for your last day in the hospital. Make sure your doctor knows that you want to be discharged by noon. If the doctor or nurse doesn't have you discharged by that hour, contact a patient advocate and explain that you do not want to be billed for the last day of your hospital stay since the delay in "check out" times was not necessary and you shouldn't be financially responsible for it.

Remember, when it comes to medical expenses, every penny adds up. Save money wherever you can and make sure you cut your medical expenses whenever possible without cutting the quality of your health care.


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