Have you ever been surprised by a healthcare expense that you just didn’t expect to have to deal with? Well, no one likes to be surprised by those. Today, my fellow blogger Lisa is sharing with us 5 smart ways we can save money on healthcare expenses.
Lisa writes at her blog My Life Nurse where she finds joy helping people take better care of themselves so they can care for the ones they love. After 26 years as an RN, Lisa also has a penchant for helping readers navigate the complex healthcare system to the find best care or service. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and drinking chai tea. She can be found on Pinterest and Facebook as My Life Nurse.
Parenting is expensive enough without spending money on healthcare treatments or services that could be avoided or prevented. While we can’t avert everything healthcare related there are some things we can.
Here are 5 ways to save money on healthcare expenses so you can put more dollars into your family’s budget.
#1. Wash your hands
It sounds too simple (and basic) to be true but handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting sick.
You can help you and your family stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these times:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating any food
- Before and after caring for anyone who is sick
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing (or helping a child who has done so)
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After touching an animal, animal food or animal waste
- After touching trash
- After touching items (doorknobs, elevator buttons, handles, tables) in the public
This post is part of the Saving More, Spending Less Series. You can also read the other posts here:
- 7 Reasons to Start Building Your Emergency Fund and How to Do It
- 6 Ways to Save Money When You’re Broke
- 5 Easy Ways to Start Saving Money for Christmas Now
- My Top 5 Secrets to Save More Money
- 3 Things the Bible Says About Money and How to Manage Your Finances Better
- 3 Biblical Principles that Will Help You Manage Your Finances This Holiday Season
And more in the topic of saving money here:
- Save Money on Groceries Without Compromising Your Family’s Health
- 4 Fun Ways to Save Money as a Family
#2. Schedule and attend annual wellness visits
Both children and adults benefit from wellness check-ups. These visits are different than a ‘regular’ health provider visit.
This is a time that your provider can talk proactively and look at you or your loved one as a ‘whole’ versus just addressing a specific symptom or ailment.
The healthcare provider can also obtain appropriate vital signs (like heart rate, blood pressure, temperature), measure height and weight, discuss recommended screening and vaccinations, and assess overall physical, social, emotional and mental wellness.
Wellness visits help identify problems early. Many times, health problems are easier to treat and can cost less when identified early.
This is also a great way to get the most value out of your medical insurance. Qualifying parents without medical insurance can take their children to public health clinics (at no charge) and some states provide medical coverage for these types of visits to your child’s regular health provider’s office.
#3. Attend follow-up visits
If you have a baby, the post-delivery visit (post-partum visit) is typically pre-paid in the prenatal or pre-delivery fees.
Your healthcare provider will tell you how many follow-up visits you will have. In addition, most post-surgical visits are also pre-paid or included in the surgical payment.
Attending follow-up visits is another way to catch problems early. But, if you do not attend these visits and develop a related problem later, you will likely end up paying a copay and coinsurance payment. It’s worth it to attend these follow-up visits!
#4. Avoid the emergency room
There are many reasons to avoid the emergency room.
First, any services delivered are more expensive than in an urgent care or clinic setting. So, charges, copays, and coinsurance responsibilities are also much higher.
But there are other reasons to avoid the emergency room too. Some insurance companies have started denying claims if the symptom treated in the emergency room is not deemed to be emergent.
Tip: You may not need an emergency room if you are looking at your schedule to see what time is the best time for you to go.
Finally, there are infectious or sick people in the emergency room. Do not go there if you do not have to be there so you can avoid this exposure (especially during flu season).
There are at least four other options available when you or your family member needs healthcare services and you do not think the need is emergent:
- Call a nurse hotline. Some insurance providers or communities offer a toll-free 24/7 nurse hotline. You can talk to a nurse to determine if an emergency room is your only or best option.
- Some healthcare providers have an answering service and may connect you to the healthcare provider who is on call to help you.
- Most communities have urgent care centers. These are typically open after business hours (closing at 10-11 p.m.) and can see you for a lower copay than an emergency room. (Note: check to make sure the urgent care provider is in your health plan’s network.)
- Wait until morning. You may be able to wait until the next morning to see your regular healthcare provider or primary care provider. Having a primary care provider is a great resource to help you save money on healthcare expenses.
#5. Keep infants and small children away from second-hand smoke exposure
Be diligent to keep your infants and small children away from second-hand smoke exposure.
Research has shown second-hand smoke causes numerous health problems including severe asthma attacks, ear infections, and upper respiratory infections.
Avoiding this allergen could prevent an illness, a provider visit, a pharmacy charge, an urgent care or emergency room visit or even a hospitalization!
There are many ways to save money as a family, and now you can even save money on healthcare expenses.
Remember to wash your hands regularly, schedule and attend adult and pediatric wellness visits, attend post-partum and post-operative visits, avoid the emergency room (call a nurse hotline, call your healthcare provider, go to an urgent care center or wait until morning), and keep young children and infants away from second-hand smoke.
Remember: the prevention or avoidance of an illness is the best way to save money on healthcare expenses!