The healthcare market is experiencing changes under Trumpcare. The media has people questioning the future for healthcare plans, and how they find coverage that’s both affordable and effective. Having access to healthcare doesn’t mean that you have the best plan or the most cost-effective provider.
Most people find the rising cost of their healthcare disturbing, with 20-percent of households struggling to pay medical bills in 2019, according to the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF).
The media is awash with stories on Industry initiatives and how they are affecting the cost and efficiency of healthcare for Americans. As a result, more American’s have their healthcare plans on their mind. While lowering the costs of health insurance is a trending topic, many Americans have no idea how to search for a better deal.
There were numerous advantages to Obamacare, but there are as many criticisms of the system as there are benefits. The future for accessible healthcare in the United States is a growing concern, and healthcare costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
Concerns over medical debts are causing more Americans to avoid finding the treatment they need when they are sick or experience a medical emergency. Therefore, you must look for ways to cut down on your insurance costs by finding an affordable healthcare provider.
Here are a few tips you can implement to reduce the financial burden of healthcare costs.
Choosing Your Healthcare Plan
When selecting your healthcare plan, you must understand that a lower premium may not be the best option for you and your family. Don’t judge the plan by its pricing; look at the benefits and the deduction rates instead.
Depending on your medical needs, and that of your family, a low-cost premium may end up increasing the total amount you spend on medical expenses during the year.
If you select a policy that features a high deductible, you’ll end up paying far lower premiums. However, when you do experience a medical emergency, it will cost you a fortune in additional medical expenses not covered by your insurance.
Even if your family is happy and healthy, with no chronic illnesses, you are still putting yourself at risk. What if you’re involved in a vehicle accident? The costs of the anesthetist alone could set you back hundreds of dollars.
When evaluating the costs of your health insurance, start by calculating the total figure you’ll pay by the end of the policy term. It’s important to factor in all of your medications, appointments, emergencies, or preventative care, into your calculation.
Look for options in your policy that stipulate what tax credits or subsidies you have. Compare it to your family’s medical needs, and how much you can afford to pay for out-of-pocket expenses. Don’t make your decision on a medical plan based on the monthly premium. Instead, base your decision on the functionality and benefits associated with the insurance.
Check All Your Options
Before you sign any insurance policy, make sure that you spend some time reviewing all of the options available. If you have a domestic partner, see if you can get coverage under their plan, instead of buying a separate policy for yourself. The laws around healthcare are continually evolving, and there might be a few options you didn’t know were available.
Compare the Coverage of Existing Plans
A healthcare option people often neglect to notice is comparing how different healthcare plans can work in synergy with each other. If you have a domestic partner or you’re married, analyzing the coverage on both of your plans, along with comparing the advantages of each facility.
This exercise can help you minimize your healthcare costs. Look out for coordination of your benefits to maximize your refunds on any medical expenses.
Health Insurance Waivers
After analyzing your costs, you may want to sign a waiver with one of your insurers. Choose the best plan between you and your partner that offers more advantages. In some cases, you may decide to waiver your health insurance and join your partner’s healthcare plan. This strategy entitles you to an increase in your employer compensation.
Find a Broker
The marketplace does not always provide you with the best pricing on your healthcare plan. Since its introduction, the US government put regulations in place that helped millions of people get the coverage they need.
However, navigating your way through the marketplace can be confusing and frustrating. As a result, you might not have the time or patience to compare all of your options from healthcare providers. Using someone who understands how to navigate the complexities of the health insurance marketplace can have huge benefits.
Healthcare brokers work with your budget to find the best healthcare plan you can afford. While insurance companies can only help you with the products they have on offer, brokers work with numerous companies in the marketplace. The broker works for you, not for the insurance companies, and they earn a living providing you with the best healthcare solution for your situation.
Brokers receive their payment from insurance companies. This fact is where things may take a turn for the worse if you decide to work with an unethical broker. The broker may be receiving higher commissions of kickbacks from healthcare providers to recommend their product. As a result, you may not get the best options available.
Always work with a reputable broker that has a steady reputation in the marketplace. If you do find the right broker, they can save you a fortune in healthcare costs over the term of your policy.
How Brokers Can Help You Save on Healthcare Costs
If you spend some time looking through a healthcare brochure, the terminology can be confusing. By working with a broker, they will clearly explain the benefits and disadvantages of healthcare plans offered by different providers.
Brokers can explain the differences between the plans, which is highly beneficial if you have no idea of the difference between PPO and HMO plans. When it comes time to claim your health insurance, a broker can negotiate with the healthcare provider. The broker helps you identify areas where you can save money on your plan while maximizing its benefits.
Using a broker saves you both time and money when sourcing your healthcare plan. You gain from their industry experience, knowledge, and relationships, helping you save a ton of money while improving your benefits.
When searching for your broker, review the entries on the website of the National Association of Health Underwriters. Brokers listed on this site are all ethical and responsible companies that have a trusted reputation.
Manage Your Healthcare Billing
Studies show high rates in the mismanagement of medical billing across the sector. Some people think that this is not a concern if they already have a medical healthcare plan. However, your policy may not cover all of your medical costs.
You need to take into consideration the fact that you often pay a percentage of the costs involved with your treatment. Coinsurance, copays, and deductibles all make a difference in your medical bills. You could face a hefty medical bill if your insurance does not have the necessary benefits to cover your treatment costs.
Rising Medical Costs Lead to Higher Health Insurance Premiums
As medical costs rise, your insurance provider will refuse to absorb the increase. Instead, they pass on these costs to the consumer by increasing premiums. You must check all of your medical bills for errors, keeping the costs of your insurance down while minimizing your out-of-pocket payments.
Ask your healthcare provider for itemized billing that provides a list of medications, sundries, supplies, and procedures used in your treatment — Double-Check all of the listed deductibles and copay amounts.
Healthcare providers frequently make mistakes, and they hold no onus of responsibility if you fail to check your billing for errors.
Balance Billing – Know Your Patient Rights
The chances are that you know nothing about balance billing. This billing system involves the provider issuing you with a bill for the balance of your medical costs after the insurer pays your claim. This bill comes as a surprise to many patients, and they often don’t have the funds available to settle the account.
If you fail to pay your balance bill, the healthcare provider may send you to a collections department to recover the funds. You must understand your rights. In some states, the practice of balance billing is illegal.
Review and Understand Your Policy
Many Americans have healthcare insurance, but very few understand the terms and conditions of their policy. Before you commit to signing any documents, make sure you read through the terms and conditions. If you’re having trouble understanding the terminology, or you find yourself with plenty of questions after your review, consider hiring a broker.
Look for Discounts
As technology infiltrates our lives, it could provide discounts on your insurance premiums. Some insurers give you a percentage reduction on your premiums if you use fitness apps or wearable tech that helps you monitor your health.
“UnitedHealthcare Motion” is an example of a company that offers financial incentives of up to $1,500 per year for qualifying candidates. Some companies may provide you with the option of contributing to a healthcare savings account as a benefit as well.
Speak to your broker about the best discounts and reimbursements offered by healthcare providers.
Save Money on Prescription Medication
Ask your broker about companies that provide you with your chronic medication. Find out the type of coverage the insurer offers when it comes to filling your prescriptions. Take your list of prospective insurers to your doctor and ask them for their advice on the best plan to help you minimize your medication expenses.
If you can’t find a provider to cover your chronic medication needs, then consider shopping around to find a cheap pharmacy. There is no standard industry pricing for drugs, and one pharmacy may be less expensive than another when it comes to pricing medications.
Curb Unnecessary Medical Expenses
When you visit the doctor or hospital for a checkup or a medical emergency, make sure you keep an eye on what your doctor is doing. The physician may order unnecessary tests, leaving you with escalating medical costs not covered by your insurance.
Ask your doctor if the tests are essential and if they can do without them. This strategy also lets your doctor know that costs are a concern for you in your treatment. The physician may look for alternative testing and treatment options which cost you less.
Review all of your previous medical costs for preventative care — plan with your doctor for upcoming preventative checkups for you and your family. By arranging a preventative plan with your doctor, you might score a discount.
The Final Thought – Compare Your Options
The biggest tip we can give you for saving on your healthcare costs is shop around. Comparing rates and benefits on policies will save you hundreds of dollars on your medical expenses throughout the year. This savings strategy has two elements to get you the best deal.
The first relies on the availability of medical services in your area. The second factor is whether or not your insurance provider allows you to choose from different providers in your area. If your healthcare plan limits these options, it might be better looking for another provider that does not have these treatments and care limitations.
Limiting your healthcare options means that you have less room to choose affordable healthcare providers for treatment. If the insurer does allow you to choose any healthcare provider, shop around for costs on your procedure or medical services that you intend on using. You must complete this due diligence before a medical emergency occurs.
Emergency rooms usually have much higher costs than your local clinic. However, if you don’t take the time to check on clinic services before the event of a medical emergency, you could wind up in trouble. It’s a certainty that you won’t have the time available to ask when you’re panicking.