Saving money on health care starts with making simple, smart choices. Here are some tips for saving on many of your medical costs such as doctor’s appointments, surgical procedures, prescriptions and more.
Focusing on preventive care and keeping yourself healthy will reduce health care costs for all. If you don’t already have one, find a primary care physician using our Find a Doctor tool. Confirm that your doctor is in network and review how much of the cost you’ll be responsible for before getting care.
Find out how you can save money on more than 1,400 common medical procedures with our HealthCare Cost Estimator. Results are based on your specific health benefits, co-pay, deductible and out-of-pocket costs.
Ask your doctor how much a recommended treatment or prescription drug will cost, and if it’s the most cost-effective solution. Sometimes an x-ray will do the trick instead of a more costly MRI, and generic drugs are just as effective as name brands.
Ask for a second opinion when you feel it’s necessary. If you’re unsure that a recommended procedure is needed, see another doctor and ask for his or her opinion. It could save you money and time in the long run.
Have you ever considered shopping for the best quality and best price for health care procedures, like a rotator cuff or knee replacement surgery? Begin to view health care in a different way — it’s the product, and you are the customer. Did you know you could negotiate? Hospitals and other health care providers are sometimes willing to reduce health care costs based on what you can afford.
Just as you look for the best value when shopping for other goods and services like clothes and a new car, it helps to have the same mindset when you’re shopping for health care. Use our HealthCare Cost Estimator to compare the cost of more than 1,400 medical procedures.
Get the kind of care you need and save the ER for emergencies.
When people use the ER for everyday care, we all pay more — higher rates, higher copays and definitely higher out-of-pocket costs. Use the ER when you have an emergency but see your doctor when you need routine care. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, you can find one today by using our Find a Doctor tool. You get more consistent care from a doctor who knows your health history and can provide follow-up care. Seeing your primary care doctor regularly helps keep you healthy and helps control your health care costs.
Use network doctors and hospitals to save every time.
Your provider network is an important part of your health plan coverage. When you use the doctors, hospitals and health care providers who belong to your specific network, you save money. Know your network. Check your member ID card and your network directory. Your plan lets you choose any doctor or hospital for your care, but if you choose a health care provider that is not in your network, you pay more on your own.
Understand your preventive care options.
Talk to your doctor. Take the right preventive tests. Preventive tests such as mammograms and prostate screenings can help keep you healthy. These simple tests can help discover problems before they become serious. For children, simple shots and vaccines can protect them from disease or illness and keep everyone in your family on the path toward good health.
Your doctor can tell you the shots that are needed at certain times and ages. Getting the right preventative care at the right time is an important way to care for yourself and your family’s health, and keep your costs down.
Do you have a doctor? Having one doctor who knows you and your medical history well can help you get better care at every visit. Most people choose a pediatrician, or a family practice physician as the primary doctor to help manage their preventive care and health needs. Some women may choose a gynecologist. Someone with a chronic health condition such as cancer or kidney disease may want to choose a specialist as his or her overall health care provider.
No matter which type of doctor you choose, it’s important to work as a partner with your doctor to make sure you get the right wellness visits and preventive health tests at the right time. Have a look at these simple questions that can help you work with your doctor to get the best care while saving yourself time and money.
Ask if a prior authorization would be required before treatment.
Prior authorization is defined as getting approval for certain medical procedures before you are treated. Having prior authorization helps you get the most for your health care dollar. Registered nurses work with physicians to check and monitor medical services to help assure that you receive the most appropriate and cost-effective care for your condition.
Ask your doctor why they are sending you to this particular specialist.
It’s just human nature for physicians to send you to someone they know, and not think about if that doctor is in your network. It could be that your doctor knows and trusts the specialist that they are sending you to, but it could also be because they work in the same clinic your doctor does and they would prefer to keep you in their system. If their answer doesn’t satisfy you, you can always choose your own specialist.
Ask your doctor why a test is needed — would the result change your treatment?
Some people feel that an extra test “couldn’t hurt” but that is not necessarily the case and could actually create unnecessary costs. Make sure you receive care for your condition.
Ask for an independent second opinion before any extensive medical procedure.
A different doctor may have a different solution to your medical problem. Be sure and ask your first doctor for any test results, x-rays etc. so you don’t have to pay to retake them.
Drug companies spend more than $2 billion each year on TV and magazine ads to help sell certain brands of drugs. Those costs are built into the price of drugs — and passed along to you whenever you buy them.
Save on drugs when you buy:
Did you know the FDA requires all generic medications to have the same quality, strength, purity and stability as brand-name drugs? You can save on drugs with generic alternatives that cost up to 50% less than brand-name medications. Your doctor can help you choose generics that are right for you.
You can also save on drugs by using your Preferred Drug List. Often there are similar drugs you can buy that cost much less.
With our convenient mail order pharmacy service you can save on drugs you need every day by purchasing up to a three-month supply of your medicine at once.
Also be sure to use a pharmacy that participates in your network. Your pharmacy network can be found on the front of your member ID card next to the provider network. You can choose any pharmacy to fill your prescriptions, but you’ll save on drugs with discounted prices at participating pharmacies.
Manage your health your way from wherever you are! See how with these helpful tools for your mobile device.