Sometimes, healthcare can be far from cheap. That should be no surprise, how we pay for healthcare as a nation is regularly one of our top debates, with progress from either side seeming slow. Ideological arguments besides, the fact is that we have to learn to live better with the system we have while we have it. We can always do better as a nation, eventually, but now we have to do better for ourselves. That means looking for a way to reduce our medical costs.


Prevent what’s preventable

It might seem like something of a glib point, but the fact remains that we are continuing to spend more and more as a nation and as individuals in treating preventable conditions. Some studies go as far to say that by 2040, the real cost of treating chronic disease will rise to cover 100% of the federal budget. How we pay for these treatments shouldn’t be the argument; how we avoid paying for them should be. Heart disease, strokes, diabetes and obesity are some of the most preventable chronic illnesses. The methods of preventing them have always remained the same, as recommended at Huffington Post . Live a healthier lifestyle. Maintain a good diet, exercise, keep mentally active, get a good night’s sleep, keep an eye out for chemical pollutants in your life and watch your cholesterol.

Get all the assistance you need

The primary form of healthcare assistance available at the moment is Medicare. Find out which packages you qualify if the costs of private health insurance are beyond you. If you’re suffering from long-term illness or disability, then looking at SSDI (or Social Security Disability Income) should be your next step. It’s not always straightforward and, sometimes, hiring an SSDI lawyer can increase your chances of getting what you’re entitled to. There are a lot of funds and disability grants on the local and state level, as well as housing and home loans with better terms for those with long-term health issues. It’s understandable that to some the idea of asking for help isn’t easy. However, weighed against a life in jeopardy, it’s a clear winner.

Choose care carefully

How much you pay for the treatment you get can also depend on where, exactly, you get it from. Rather than going to your usual practice, look to other avenues for your treatment as well. Preventive care can cut costs by using expert advice to fight the kind of chronic disease mentioned in the first point. But, there are also other avenues like urgent care centers, convenience care centers, outpatient surgery centers, even connecting with a doctor online that can all cost less than a conventional hospital. If you want to make sure you’re getting the same level of care, ask your doctor if they practice in any of these other methods. A vast number of healthcare practitioners work in more than one setting.


Consider paying cash

Paying by cash might sound counter-intuitive. Insurance and billing systems are setup to make paying more manageable. But while you could be paying less in the short-term, it could make care more expensive in the long-term. Talk to your doctor about paying in cash and not through an insurance provider. Often, you might find they offer steep cash discounts. In the past, this was the exact opposite, but the current Affordable Care Act has specifically tackled the subject of hospitals price-gouging uninsured patients, while insurance providers are free to price their coverage however they see fit.

When Medicare isn’t enough

Medicare helps a lot of people make certain elements of their healthcare more affordable. However, there are flaws in it, just as flaws can be expected in any state-run healthcare provision system. There are plenty of treatments that fall outside the realm of Medicare. Depending on whether you’re on Part A or Part B, it won’t cover long-term care, most dental care, eye exams, hearing aids, and more. If you find these problems eating up your funds or you just want to be extra protected, consider solutions like .  Medigap covers what Medicare won’t, often helping those on it avoid some of the most alarming extra costs of the systems. It’s an affordable solution allowing you to make use of what’s available without having to go entirely private.  

Go generic

Anyone who has to pay for them regularly will tell you that it’s the prescription medication that can most often be the worst offender when it comes to propping up your medical bills. But if you need that medication then it can feel like there’s no solution. There might be, however. Many different medicines have generic alternatives that cost much less. A generic medicine is functionally the exact same as branded medicine. The active ingredients provide the same treatment, with zero changes to how quick they are or how they work. The only differences include things like lacking flavorings that can make medicine more palatable. However, allowing your medicine to be a little more bitter for the sake of big savings should not be an issue for most adults.


Check that bill

Every single time you get a medical bill, you should be poring over it with a fine-tooth comb. Errors on bills are not uncommon. As shows, there are a lot of ways they can mess up your bills, and force you to pay more than you should be. Duplicate or incorrect treatment charges. Insurance details mistakes that mean you don’t get the coverage you’re entitled to. Unbundling, causing a package of discounted treatments to be billed separately. There are a lot of little and large errors that can sometimes mean a difference of a few dollars but can sometimes mean a difference of thousands of dollars. Learn the most common medical bill errors and don’t be afraid to fight them when they come up. Just make sure your doctor provides itemized bills so you every detail on how much you’re paying and on what, exactly.

It can take a lot of work, a little investing, and plenty of diligence, but we can all do a little extra to make our healthcare more affordable. You owe it to yourself to make it as easy to attain a good standard of care as possible.

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