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53 ways to cut your health care and health insurance costs

Posted Nov 18 2008 12:14am

53 ways to cut your health care and health insurance costs

A commonly asked question, and a tough one to answer is, "Why are my health insurance costs going up at a rate that is so much higher than inflation?" Experts say that there are no easy answers as to why costs keep going up. But there are straightforward explanations.

First of all, it is important to understand that the health insurance companies aren't the source of these cost hikes. They are merely a conduit. Nearly all insurance companies work with fixed and highly regulated operating margins. Health insurance premium increases are a "pass along" expense from rising doctor, hospital and overall medical costs.

PAGE ONE:
Introduction:
Why costs keep rising

The 53 Tips on Reducing Health Care Costs

  1. If a medical bill seems excessive, try negotiating
  2. Contact a medical bill "auditor"
  3. You may get a tax break on your medical bills
  4. Can I qualify for any other tax breaks?
  5. Deduct 100% of your healthcare costs from your taxes
  6. Help for families with kids -- CHIP
  7. 24-hour nurse-on-call services
  8. Only in an emergency
  9. Use home health care
  10. You better shop around
  11. Federal funding may come your way
  12. Know when to stay home and treat your aches on your own
  13. Check for free clinics in your community
  14. Ask what a new doctor charges before seeking treatment
  15. Get a second opinion out of town
  16. Don't pay double for a second opinion
  17. Take your dental x-rays to your next dentist
  18. Make sure you're covered . . . or begin to plan ahead
  19. Get regular mammograms
  20. Avoid sunburn
  21. No smoking during pregnancy and beyond
  22. Emotional Stability
  23. Use a hospital that offers incentives
  24. Order your prescription drugs by phone or mail
  25. Ask your doctor to prescribe generic drugs
  26. Take only those drugs you really need
  27. Pay attention to the quantity
  28. Buy over-the-counter drugs only when needed
  29. Buy the cheapest supplement possible
  30. Think about buying home test kits
  31. Understand your Medicare benefits
  32. Look for a doctor who accepts Medicare
  33. You can appeal your Medicare reimbursement
  34. Know what's not covered under Medicare
  35. Look for medical equipment discounts
  36. Use unexpired prescriptions
  37. Share a home with other seniors
  38. Try seniors day care
  39. Get enrolled in a group plan
  40. Choose a higher deductible
  41. Pay premiums annually
  42. Review your policy carefully once a year
  43. Think twice about additional cancer insurance
  44. Make sure there's a ceiling for out-of-pocket expenses for catastrophic illnesses
  45. Helpful hints for filing insurance claims
  46. Get educated about your health
  47. Take advantage of free health advice
  48. Call toll-free health care hotlines
  49. Buckle up for safety
  50. Brush up on first-aid skills
  51. Keep your home safe
  52. For your back health: prevent injuries
  53. Take a lifestyle approach to wellness - every day
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