Nearly every American citizen has healthcare horror stories to share. As one of the few developed countries with a profit-driven healthcare system, the U.S. is home to some of the world’s most exorbitant medical costs. While getting the care you need without breaking the bank may seem like an uphill battle, saving on healthcare is much easier than many of us realize. Anyone looking for easy ways to proactively fight back against unreasonable healthcare costs can benefit from the following tips.
Seek Out Healthcare Providers That Offer Financial Aid
Unbeknownst to many healthcare seekers, a fair number of providers offer financial aid services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients. However, these programs aren’t always openly advertised, and the onus is often on patients to inquire about them. So, before seeking treatment at a new facility, ask about what – if any – financial aid services they provide. In some cases, simply revealing that you’re uninsured or underinsured will result in a large portion of your bill(s) being forgiven. Depending on your financial situation, you may even qualify for full-on bill forgiveness.
Exercise on a Regular Basis
The benefits of regular exercise are anything but limited. For starters, exercise can effectively deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissue and help facilitate a more efficient cardiovascular system, which can aid in staving off assorted health problems. Furthermore, physical fitness can boost your muscle strength and heighten your endurance, which can reduce fatigue and improve your general outlook. As such, you’d do well to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
It’s important to note that “exercise” does not refer exclusively to engaging in intense strength training or working out to the point of complete exhaustion. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day can do wonders for both your physical health and psychological well-being. In other words, starting or ending your day with a brisk walk may be enough to meet your fitness goals.
If you’ve never committed to an exercise routine before or have had bad luck with fitness regimens in the past, get in touch with your doctor. In all likelihood, they’ll be happy to work with you in creating an exercise routine that’s perfectly suited to someone of your age, weight, and height.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
As is the case with regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet can have a positive impact on both physical and mental well-being. Eating a diet that’s high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, and assorted proteins can help you maintain a favorable weight, as well as reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and various other health issues. In fact, some sources believe that lifestyle changes like healthy eating and regular exercise can reduce the risk of premature heart disease and stroke by up to 80%.
So, if your current eating habits leave something to be desired, there’s no time like the present to start rethinking your diet. Again, your doctor should be able to help you plot out a diet that’s uniquely suited to your needs. Additionally, if you’re looking to get more protein, you may find shakes made with protein powders to be an agreeable snack.
Check Out the Healthcare Marketplace
The Affordable Care Act of 2013 is the most sweeping healthcare legislation in decades and has made health insurance considerably more accessible for millions of Americans. Visiting Healthcare.gov and providing some basic information will show you a wide range of plans that are suited to your financial situation and lifestyle. In fact, depending on your income level, you may be eligible to purchase plans for under $50 a month. You may even discover that you qualify for a number of free plans.
Because the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) incorporates subsidies that work on a sliding scale, the amount you’ll pay in monthly premiums will be limited to a percentage of your annual income. This means that plans that were once well outside of your price range may now be readily affordable. Regardless of your income level, there’s absolutely no harm in heading to the above-mentioned website and perusing available plans.
Apply for Medicaid
Applying for Medicaid is a good option for people who are unable to find affordable plans through the Healthcare Marketplace. In case you’re unfamiliar, Medicaid is a federal and state-funded health insurance program that provides healthcare coverage to millions of low-income, elderly and disabled Americans. In addition to covering a wide range of procedures, Medicaid can also help recipients pay for an extensive array of medications.
The criteria for qualification vary from state to state, so if you’re unclear on whether or not you qualify, head to your state’s Medicaid website for more info. Alternatively, if you lack regular internet access, someone from your local welfare office should be more than happy to review the qualifications with you and help you through the application process.
Ask About Prompt Pay Discounts
Some healthcare providers allow patients to take advantage of prompt pay discounts. As the name implies, these discounts are offered in exchange for prompt payment of medical bills. As is the case with the financial aid programs discussed above, the size of your discount may be determined by your insurance situation.
Attempt to Negotiate
Many people make the mistake of believing that medical bills are non-negotiable and ultimately wind up paying more for healthcare than they need to. Keep in mind that over 80% of medical bills contain errors, which makes many healthcare providers highly amenable to negotiating exorbitant costs. So, the next time you receive an alarming medical bill, call up your provider and ask them to explain each individual charge in detail. If a charge can’t be cogently justified, it shouldn’t be on there.
It isn’t hard to see why so many Americans actively avoid seeking out healthcare services. With medical costs out of control across the board, a single visit to the doctor stands to set you back a considerable sum. Only in a country with a for-profit healthcare system could people go into massive debt simply for seeking out treatment for assorted ailments and illnesses.
Although there’s no denying the deep-rooted problems with the U.S. healthcare system, finding effective ways to reduce medical costs isn’t quite as daunting as you may think. So, if a proactive approach to exorbitant healthcare costs is what you’re after, consider the measures discussed above.
Having completed my Bachelor’s degree in medicine and currently pursuing a house job at a well-reputed hospital in California, I decided to utilize my spare time in sharing knowledge with others through my blog. Apart from my time spent in the medical field, I love to read fiction novels and go on long drives.