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Reduce your health care costs

Posted Apr 06 2009 11:15pm

OutofPocket.com was launched in 2007 to help consumers look-up prices and find affordable health care services.   For two years, OutofPocket.com has been the consumer’s voice promoting price transparency in health care, appealing to the 47 million Americans that are uninsured and consumers with CDHPs.   Today, with so many employers struggling with rising health care costs, consumer driven health plans are rapidly becoming the number one choice for their affordability.   As these employers adopt CDHPs for their employees, OutofPocket.com becomes a useful tool to help employees reduce their out-of-pocket expenses and make informed choices before purchasing health care services.   <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

Being a savvy health care consumer saves you money and reduces your health care costs.   In addition to reducing your out-of-pocket expenses, here are some other practical tips you can use from CheckPoint HR Benefits Group, on how to reduce your health care costs.

 

Work with your doctor.   Most doctors understand the business and processes of insurance. Tap into their knowledge base for the best possible hospitals for specific procedures.   Many doctors can provide patients with guidance in negotiating fees and/or working with the insurance companies on lowering out of pocket costs. In some instances, doctors will reach out to the hospital's finance department (on behalf of the patient) and request that consideration be made when dealing with the finances of certain procedures. Bottom line, communicate and work with your doctor!

 

Know all of the benefits available to you.   Insurance programs are aligned with a lot of ancillary benefits that consumers should be made aware of. Benefits such as gym reimbursements, employee assistance programs, massage therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, vision reimbursements, weight loss programs, free or low cost flu shots or immunizations, disease management programs, health coaching or nurse advice lines, are no cost preventive benefits. Make sure you read the fine print and take advantage of everything that is being paid for via premiums.

 

Be a smart consumer.   Individuals today have better access to information than ever before. With more control over their own health care, consumers are able to make educated and more informed decisions about options, procedures, costs, and treatment. Some insurance companies now have released the costs for certain procedures covered under their plans on their websites. This information allows individuals to better understand the true costs of care before they utilize their plan and allows them to make better financial decisions based upon quality as well.   If your insurance plan does not provide this information, you can use tools like OutofPocket.com to look up prices and find the best value.

 

Go generic.   High deductible plans are taking traction in the workplace and with that so does the need for employees to manage their costs with more scrutiny. One consideration for maximizing your benefits without sacrificing quality is to ask your doctor about a generic drug. When working with your doctor, ask them if the prescribed medication has a generic equivalent that will work for you. If there is a viable equivalent, make sure the medication is listed on the formulary list that your insurance carrier make available on their Website.

 

Focus on wellness.   One of the best ways to reduce health care costs is for people to get healthy! Companies today are rewarding employees who are proactive in their decision making and who lead healthier lives through physical fitness and increased presenteeism. Corporate Wellness programs offered today focus on tobacco cessation, know-your-numbers (BMI, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol), walking clubs and programs that increase physical activity and reduce negative behaviors towards health.

 

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