Healthcare is unlike any other product we buy. You can’t just visit Amazon or swipe your card at the corner store. There are no simple price tags, and unlike other goods and services, discounts and sales are anything but straightforward. That’s why it’s so important for you to have enough information to become a smart healthcare consumer.
There’s no getting around it; healthcare is extremely complicated. But if you keep the following few things in mind, you’ll be in a better position to save money and make smart choices in the healthcare marketplace.
Know where you stand. The first thing you need to do is to have some sort of a clear picture of where you stand with your health insurance. Check your insurance company’s website to be sure you know how much you pay in certain situations. Another good way to know where you stand is to pay close attention to everything that appears on your bill each month.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand how or why something is being done, do not be afraid to speak up. There is a lot about healthcare that is confusing or frankly, just doesn’t make that much sense. You are well within your rights to ask about anything that doesn’t make sense to you (and you won’t be the only one to ask that same question).
Look for value where you can. We’ve alluded to this already, and you already know: healthcare is not cheap. That’s why it’s smart to look for free or discounted services where they are available, and where they make sense for you and your situation. Whether that’s somewhere like a dental school or a free health screening, these can be good ideas to help you stay healthy and save some money.
Don’t neglect preventative care. Here’s the thing: you bought health insurance to use it. You may feel like by neglecting regular checkups and generally avoiding the doctor that you are saving money. The hard truth may be that you are neglecting health issues that could accumulate and get worse down the road. This is true when it comes to lifestyle as well. Smoking, eating poorly, and not exercising are all bad habits. Take care of yourself today for a healthy tomorrow!
Don’t rely on the emergency room. The ER is for exactly what it says: emergencies. If you do not have a real life emergency health situation, you should not try to go to the ER. It takes away valuable time and resources from people with real emergencies, and generally clogs up the healthcare system. Using the emergency room also neglects the relationship you should be building with your primary care doctor. To learn more about when to use the ER and when not to, click here to read a quick blog we put together.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to sugar coat it. Healthcare is a complicated product and a complicated industry. The best way for you to approach it is to prepare yourself with knowledge and to live a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes, lifestyle is not the problem, but finances are. If the cost of healthcare is causing problems for you and your family there are a few things you can do.
Don’t be afraid to ask if certain tests or procedures are absolutely necessary, and make sure you know what they cost. Don’t be afraid to ask if there is a more cost-effective alternative. It is your right as a patient to understand what you pay for and why. Compare the prices and ratings of different facilities in your area. The website www.healthgrades.com is a good resource that provides data on both the quality of facilities and physicians, and the costs of procedures. www.newchoicehealth.com is another website that provides estimated costs for procedures.
We hope this blog will help you be a smarter healthcare consumer. If you have any questions about your plan, feel free to contact one of your Liquid Trucking Benefits managers.