Dont feel like adding to costs by filling a new prescription? Before your doctor signs the script, ask if there are any lifestyle changes that might have the same effect.
Taking a daily multivitamin may not be worth it in the long runif your diet covers all the recommended daily nutritional bases. (This requires a diverse mix of fruit and veggies, lean meats, legumes, and whole grains, so if youre a picky eater, a vegetarian, or have a food allergy, you may need a daily pill.)
A 2006 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that 43% of patients underwent unnecessary tests at simple, routine checkups. If your doctor orders an MRI, CT scan, or other medical exam, speak up: Besides the medical concerns of unnecessary testing, like additional exposure to harmful radiation, you could be billed for these extra procedures. Ask why its being ordered, whether it will cost you extra money, and what will be done afterward if the results are positive (or negative). If the answer is simply "routine screening," the test may be unnecessary.
Continuously shelling out for a regular prescription (we're lookin at you, birth control) can be a real drag. Find out if there are cheaper options, like ordering from legitimate, safe online vendors, or thriftier pharmacies with low-price plans. You can also try money-saving strategies such as buying the generic version of the medication, buying pills in bulk, and splitting higher-dose pills.
5. Dont procrastinate.
If you plan to get the Gardasil vaccine to protect yourself against cervical cancer and HPV, make sure you have time to get all three doses of the vaccine before you turn 27. Administered over an eight-month span, the vaccine has only been approved by the FDA for women up to 26 years of age, so insurance will not cover any shots needed once youre past the cutoff (even if you start the process before your birthday). Out-of-pocket, these jabs can cost up to $200 each, not counting administration fees tacked on by your doctors office.
Unlike the price tag on those fabulous (and completely out of your budget) new fall boots, medical costs arent always set in stone. If youre uninsured and paying out-of-pocket for hospital or doctor services, dont be afraid to try these proven ways to negotiate medical bills. Disclosing your income may knock off a chunk of the bill, as will offering to pay with cash on the spotyou could get as much as a 20% discount. If your doc wants you to try a new medication, ask if he or she has samples for you to try first, or check the drugs website for coupons to use at the pharmacy.
Consider planning your next vacation around your next medical procedure. Medical tourism could save you anywhere from 40% to 85% on health-care costs, although it does have its risks. If youre fully insured, staying at home will be your best bet. But for things that arent covered (such as cosmetic surgery or dental procedures), or for patients without insurance, a trip to Mexico, Costa Rica, or even Thailand or India could add up to huge savings.
The best way to keep your medical costs down? Dont get sick. Easier said than done, we know, but if money is tight, focus on the little things within your controlexercise more, drink less alcohol, wear sunscreen, floss your teeth, and wash your hands. Covering these basics will keep you out of the doctors office, plain and simple. Oh, and now is a perfect time to stop smoking too: Kicking that habit alone could save you thousands of dollars a year.