12. Shop Around for Drugs
Just as medical providers offer different prices, so do drugstores. For example, a recent search on GoodRx for a 30-day supply of Lipitor found prices ranging from $8.25 to more than $48.
Retailers like Walgreens and Costco have prescription savings clubs, which offer various discounts.
13. Avoid the Emergency Room
Unless you have an actual emergency, stay away from the emergency room. Visiting a doctor’s office or urgent care clinic typically costs much less and is often a less frenzied experience.
Choose carefully, though, because urgent care clinics that are owned by hospitals could charge the same rate as their parent companies. “You’ll pay anywhere from four to 20 times the price by not going to your doctor,” said Adria Gross, CEO of MedWise Insurance Advocacy, which helps people navigate the medical claims system.
14. Negotiate Your Bills
If you’re paying out of pocket for a procedure, contact a hospital’s billing department upfront to see whether there’s any wiggle room in the price. If you’ve already had a procedure, but can’t afford to pay the bill, there might also be an opportunity to negotiate your medical bills, or set up a payment plan that makes it more affordable.
15. Download an App
Thanks to telemedical apps like Heal, arranging a house call by your physician might be as easy as pulling out your smartphone.
Although a house call with your doc might cost a little more than a traditional office visit, avoiding those middle-of-the-night ER trips can lead to significant savings. In fact, a 2016 study by USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics and USC Price School of Public Policy showed that instituting a house call program in a senior population reduced both hospitalization rates and medical spending. As a bonus, you don’t have to leave the house when you’re under the weather.
16. Consider Medical Tourism
An estimated 1.4 million Americans left the country in 2017 for health procedures that are cheaper elsewhere or not affordable in the United States, according to Patients Beyond Borders. The practice of “medical tourism,” as it’s known, includes risks, such as trouble communicating or less-safe practices. The Medical Tourism Association estimates that traveling for medical treatment can net savings of up to 90%, however.