56 THE QUEENS COURIER • WELLNESS • MAY 17, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Healthcare hints: 5 savings tips
for budget-conscious consumers
As Americans work hard to meet all the
obligations that come with work, family
and everyday life, many are challenged to
fi nd time to manage all the fi nancial elements
aff ecting their healthcare.
If you’re among them you’re far from
alone, since the multiple details associated
with healthcare insurance can be confusing.
At the same time, you want to
be smart about your fi nancial resources
when making decisions about the quality
healthcare you and your family need.
Fortunately, by carving out time to
research money-saving tips you may be
able to minimize your out-of-pocket
healthcare expenses. Such out-of-pocket
spending rose by more than 50 percent
between 2010 and 2017, Th e Atlantic
recently reported, partly because half of
all health insurance policyholders in the
U.S. are dealing with annual deductibles
of at least $1,000.
Whether you’re uninsured or simply
facing a high insurance deductible, you
can take several steps to better manage
your healthcare budget. Consider how the
following tips may off er you a better sense
of control of rising healthcare costs.
• Read bills with a critical eye. Any bill
can include administrative errors, and
some estimates have indicated errors
on as many as 80 percent of medical
invoices issued, reports the Medical
Billing Advocates of America. Th at statistic
makes it well worth your while to
examine and question your expenses
before you settle up.
• Lower the cost of your meds. A free
program known as Inside Rx is a prescription
savings card that provides
discounts on prescription medications
for eligible patients. And it’s amazingly
eff ective. According to the data, eligible
patients have saved an average of
40 percent on the more than 100 featured
brand medications included in
the program, and even more on generic
medications. Inside Rx is a great
option to help the uninsured, those
facing high deductibles or anyone trying
to save money on their meds.
Inside Rx even off ers prescription savings
for pets for qualifying medications.
And the Inside Rx card is free
and easy to download, with no registration
process or sharing of personal
• Compare costs whenever possible.
Some medical services can be diffi cult to
compare on an apples-to-apples basis,
but it’s worth doing your homework
before making appointments for more
standard services such as annual checkups,
lab work and testing, dental care
or dermatology services. Check vendor
websites, make phone calls and conduct
web searches to fi nd online databases,
such as HealthcareBluebook.com, that
suggest fair prices for various services. If
you’re insured, your insurance provider
can then clarify what portion of the bill
will be covered.
• Be bold about negotiations. It’s OK to
speak up. You have nothing to lose by
politely asking your healthcare provider
to work with you on the price of an
upcoming service, especially when dealing
with a private practice. Start the conversation
by aiming for the Medicare
rate or an amount close to that paid by
commercial insurers. As an alternative,
ask the offi ce administrator to set up a
manageable payment plan.
• Consider paying cash up front. Some
vendors off er discounts for simply paying
cash for your services without funneling
everything through insurance.
Even if you’re insured, you can still
evaluate whether immediate cash payments
will be lower than your post-insurance
Keeping a close eye on where you might
be wasting money on healthcare can pay
off in a big way - and the remedies don’t
have to be complicated. Conduct your
due diligence on such costs to protect
your fi nancial health as vigorously as your