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How To Prevent High Hospital Bills and Medical Bills

You cannot avoid illness. You cannot avoid the medical expenses that are associated with being sick or hospitalized. You can avoid common mistakes that Americans may make associated with health related expenses. Here are 10 tips to prevent high medical debt and reduce your medical cost.

1. Public Health Clinic:  Check to see what your public clinic is offering. Vaccinations, such as the flu or pneumonia vaccine may be provided at a discounted rate or even free, and you avoid paying a co-payment on your health insurance.

2. Public Health Fair:  Many times these are held at a chain drug store. Generally, you can receive a free health screening for common ailments regarding vision, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure readings. These are done for free, but should not be replaced by an annual physical provided by your primary health provider. These are just a screen, meaning they can give you the information but cannot treat the situation if a red flag is raised with your test results.

3. Research your prescription medications: Buying your medications at the hospital pharmacy is not the best idea, unless you do not have another option. These medications are, for the most part, a higher cost than your local chain pharmacy. Generic medications may not be provided in hospital pharmacies. Most pharmacies have generics for a very low cost, and even have specials for very reasonable prices. Make sure you inquire about generics before handing over your cash.

4. Ask for the generic brand: Generic is the same drug, different name. The chemical make-up is exactly the same; you will not have to pay for the high priced pharmaceutical company making this product. Use these!

5. Mail-order prescription drug plan:  Ask your health insurance or prescription drug plan about mail-in orders. These are, generally, the generic brand, but can save you large amounts of money. If you use medications on a daily basis, you may be able to get a “package” of multiple orders of the same drug at a time, for a low price. These medications will be delivered directly to your home

6. Reading Glasses:  Okay, so you get an eye exam and your ophthalmologist goes “you need reading glasses. You need glasses with a +.5 refractory power.” The workers in the doctor’s office love to show you expensive and trendy glasses that cost hundreds of dollars. Honestly, go to a drug store and purchase the glasses in the back of the store by the pharmacy. On the display, you will see many numbers such as “+.5” or “-1.5” with many other ranges present. These are the exact same strength and kind of glasses you need in order to read. They are far more cheaper and do the job. 

7. Emergency Health Fund:  Fabricate a health care fund in case of a rainy day when a health condition comes up requiring multiple stays in a hospital with many tests and medications. Health insurance is highly suggested and can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime, but health insurance does not cover everything associated with medical care. You will need to pay some out of pocket fees. Do not put yourself in debt over high medical costs.

8. Got Cash?:  Chances are, if you can pay your bill in cash, the billings office may provide you with a discount. This day in age, with the economy as poor as it has been, everyone is looking for a deal. If you have the money at the time of rendering services, request a discount if you can pay in cash. Hey, it is worth a shot, right? Many physicians are willing to work on this with you, especially if you do not have insurance. It saves them time and money. Also, ask the doctors if they have any samples of the prescription drug they just prescribed to you. It is a high probability that they have a drawer full of samples from hungry pharmaceutical company representatives that are eager to sell their product.

9. The emergency room is a cost guzzler:  If you are really sick and it is after hours, go to the emergency room; however, if you have a minor illness or low risk situation, wait at home, or go to a walk-in clinic. The ER is very expensive and many tests and procedures, as well as just being in the ER may not be covered by the insurance company and could run you hundreds to thousands of dollars.

10. Take care of yourself:  Again, getting sick is inevitable. You will get some sort of illness in your lifetime. If you are overweight, lose weight. Exercise. If you smoke, stop. Wash your hands. Use antibacterial soaps. Cover your mouth when you cough. Take your vitamins. Eat healthy. If you are sick, get medical attention. Take your medicine. Stay home. Rest.  It is far more cost effective to stay healthy than the high medical expenses that result from being sick. Many of the illnesses that cause people to be admitted to the hospitals are easily preventable.

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