6. Shop Generic Drugs
If you're looking to reduce your medical bills and reduce out of control medical spending, you can start by shopping generically. Consumers tend to think of generic options as less effective or even as harmful. This is not the case, however, when it comes to generic prescription drugs. Though these alternatives may not be as flashy as the name-brand drugs advertised on commercials, they treat patient illnesses just as effectively for only a fraction of the cost. You can increase your drug savings even more by shopping in preferred pharmacies or online at vendors such as GoodRx. These options allow you access to a wide range of generic and name brand drugs at lower costs. Preferred pharmacies take the extra step of reducing dispensing fees, saving you even more money on your next drug purchase. For this reason, it's worth seeing if a preferred pharmacy network is included in your healthcare plan. If not, you may want to review your options and see if adding such a plan would benefit you.
7. Make a Payment Plan
Making a payment plan helps you to reduce the upfront cost of your medical bills. Often, you may be able to work out reduced costs or debt forgiveness with your healthcare provider. In these cases, you won't be expected to pay the full price of your medical bill. This also allows you to keep your outstanding medical debt from hitting your credit report. For consumers interested in protecting their credit and paying their medical bills in a more effective manner, payment plans with debt forgiveness or reduced charges serve as an effective alternative to traditional or standard options.
8. Take a Trip to Your Hospital
Sometimes, phone calls just don't cut it. In those times, you may have to take a trip to meet with members of your healthcare facility's billing department one-on-one. Often, you will be able to work out a deal by meeting in person that you may not have achieved over the phone. When you go to your meeting, make sure that you give your hospital detailed information of your finances and current medical situation. Often, healthcare providers are willing to work with you to iron out an affordable alternative to traditional payment options. In some cases, you may even be eligible to discounts and other benefits to which you would otherwise not have been given access.
9. Hire a Patient Advocate
Medical bills can be complicated. To make matters worse, most of us don't have the requisite knowledge to understand the technical jargon used in medical billing. This makes it harder for us to negotiate our bills and spot errors when they exist. With current data from the U.S. Government Accountability Office suggesting that around 90% of medical bills contain some form of error, this poses problems for an average consumer who is now racking up more medical debt than ever before. With soaring healthcare costs and seemingly new healthcare laws and policies every year, you may want to hire a professional to make sure that your healthcare billing was done correctly. Luckily, there exists a large field of healthcare specialists who review medical billing and work on your behalf to negotiate lower medical bills. These professionals are generally referred to as patient advocates, and they can cost a pretty penny. Knowing this, you only want to hire an advocate when you are facing insurmountable medical debt. In general, the cost of your medical debt should outweigh the cost of professional help in order to make this a worthwhile purchase. Still, if you are not long removed from a major procedure and suspect that you were unfairly charged, patient advocates can be a great boon—in some cases lowering medical bills by thousands of dollars.
10. Take out a Personal Loan
You may also want to consider taking out a person loan to pay off your medical debts. Though taking out a loan certainly isn't the flashiest of options, it could give you time to pay off your medical bills and avoid debt moving onto your credit report. In general, personal loans offer you at least a one year period in which you can make payments toward your medical debt. If you have multiple bills on your record, many loan options even allow you to consolidate these expenses into one payment. Through consolidation, you will be able to potentially reduce the cost of your medical bills by agreeing to pay off your medical debt within a set time frame. Consider taking out a personal loan if you are unable to work out a deal with your hospital. Doing so can help you get your medical bills on track.
The Bottom Line
Consumers in 2019 face an increasingly uphill battle when it comes to healthcare. With soaring deductibles and increasing debt, consumers must take the steps necessary to reduce their medical bills and keep their expenditures under control. By following the information contained in this guide, you can start fighting back against high medical bills. With ten of the most common and effective strategies to combat high medical costs, this guide serves as a valuable resource for you and your family. Though the current healthcare climate remains volatile and uncertain at best, using these ten tips can help you maintain control of your life and your finances.
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