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How to Save Money on Healthcare

Healthcare is one of the biggest expenses in Australian households and it is getting progressively more expensive. A recent study revealed some shocking statistics – 62% of bankruptcies are a result of healthcare expenses or income loss during illness.

In such a scenario, a question that many people are asking is, how can I save money on healthcare? It’s easier than you think to make sure you’re not spending money on medical costs where you can actually be saving it.

1. Understand new laws

Read up on the provisions that are laid down in laws like the Affordable Care Act. According to this law, children up to 26 years can still be covered by the policies of their parents. You may even be eligible for insurer rebates. According to the law, 80% of premiums collected by insurers are supposed to be spent on medical costs for customers. If your insurer hasn’t met these terms, you may qualify for a rebate.

2. Make sure your doctor is in-network

Doctors and hospital that are in-network are usually under contract with your insurance company. Such in-network medical expenses are significantly more affordable because they are agreed upon between the insurers and the doctor. If you get a bill that you think is wrong, always follow through. Also, each time you make an appointment with your doctor, find out if they are still in-network. Physicians may be re-evaluating the plans that they have accepted from time to time.

3. Take measures to prevent illness and stay healthy

New laws like the Affordable Care Act will cover certain preventive care such as immunization, mammograms, breast-feeding support etc. without a need for co-pays. You can use these provisions to save money. If your medical insurance was formulated after 2010, you’ll be able to benefit from these provisions. But even if your insurance was drawn up earlier, you can challenge any bill that you find has errors on it.

4. Know how to negotiate

Negotiate to get your hospital bills lowered. It is not only possible, but a survey in 2005 had discovered that 70% of ex-patients at hospitals were able to get their bills lowered. If you are uninsured or have suffered from recent financial hardships, you are more likely to succeed in this. If you are unsure of what price to quote, you can look up how much Medicare covers on websites like hospitalcompae.hhs.gov. Then call the billing manager and offer the amount. You will find that being able to pay in cash then and there will sometimes get your costs reduced by as much as half. In addition, if you are having several procedures being done at the same time, you can get a discount.

5. Look for cheaper medication

In place of brand name drugs, a large number of Americans choose to buy generic drugs. Generic drugs are FDA approved and have the same active ingredients as brand name medications. Manufacturers are able to make them more affordable because they are already tested in advance by patent-holding companies.

Even if you choose to buy branded drugs, it is useful to find out the kind of benefits offered by the pharmacy. This will help you choose the drugs that are available at the lowest prices. If you are prescribed a medicine by your doctor and it is not included under your plan at low prices, ask your doctor for an alternative medicine that you will be able to buy for less.

6. Don’t let doctors or insurers talk you into treatments you don’t need

If you are being prescribed a test that is expensive, always ask your doctor why you need the test. Find out if you can postpone it and if doing so will affect your condition. Some tests like bone-density scans, EKGs and MRIs may not be needed by every patient. If you talk to your doctor about the procedure and the potential costs in advance, then you will give your doctor the opportunity to make changes in your treatment.

If you are employed with a company, you will find that employer plans will offer the best benefits. If you can find an insurance agent you will have access to a variety of plans. Insurance companies will cover the cost of an agent, so if you have an insurance plan you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

This was a Guest Post by Brenda Panin, passionate finance and business blogger. Brenda is interested in topics related to saving money by purchasing insurance or saving money on health care. She enjoys seeing her readers getting useful information from her articles.

Can I Suspend My Health Insurance

The price for having a health insurance policy can be costly and that is why a lot of people wish to have their plans suspended during times when they are away travelling. Depending on your insurer, you may only be eligible if you are going overseas, and not domestically. But this differs from insurers to insurers so make sure you check with yours.

There are several other factors that you must satisfy in order for you to be suspended. Some of the things include having been a member of the health fund for a certain period of time such as a year, have applied for a suspension before a certain timeframe of your departure with proof of travel documents that you are indeed going away, and notifying the insurer when you are returning. Multiple forms may also need to be filled out and lodged before your application can be approved. Once you receive a response, it is likely that you will get a notice on how long you will be able to suspend. It is not uncommon that it is shorter than the amount of time you have first planned.

One common question a lot of people tend to ask is whether or not they will be able to continue having access to Medicare once they are suspended. The answer is yes, because Medicare is offered to every Australians while health insurance is something entirely voluntarily to take out.

Money Saving Tips For Obtaining Health Insurance

Health is wealth; hence getting the prime health care is necessary. Obtaining Health Insurance ensures that you will be able to get this type of health care. Furthermore, it would also let you save thousands of dollars. How would you be able to achieve that? Just ensure that you follow these tips to attain the best health coverage and big savings.

Determine what particular areas you need more cover

You can obtain a comprehensive health insurance but that would still be insufficient to cover some specific areas which you might need special coverage. Since most health insurance is geared towards general requirements, it is well recommended that you customise your health insurance to suit your specific needs. For instance, if you are prone to skin disorders or need an extensive dental work, you might need to augment coverage on these aspects. On the other hand, those areas, which you may never use, should be diminished to decrease your premium payment. For instance, if you are a male you should eradicate coverage for Obstetrics that is usually included under comprehensive health insurances. You should only pay for what you really need when it comes to Health Insurance.

Benefit from preventive programs

Many health insurance providers offer preventive programs for their members or clients. Some of them may offer anti-diabetes or anti-asthma campaign courses. By taking advantage of such courses, you are getting pro-active in ensuring that you will not need medical attention for these types of illnesses in the future. Since these courses are free, you will be able to save hundreds of dollars, which you might have to spend if you will take these courses from independent entities that do this kind of things for a fee.

Take advantage of the extras

Numerous health insurance providers offer benefits that do not directly relates to medical care. Some of these benefits include free gym membership, discounted cinema tickets, massages and more others, for which you have allocated a definite yearly budget. By taking advantage of these extras, using them, you will save the allowances, which you have set up for such items. Such savings might eventually become large enough to cover your health insurance premiums.

Family insurance

You can actually make savings by insuring your whole family rather taking on separate individual insurance for each member. Premiums for family insurance coverage is reduce up to even 50% compared to individual separate coverage. Moreover, Health insurance ensures that each insured person gets full coverage. Despite the connotation, the insurance is not to be shared or divided among members of the family in case of claims.

Go for ‘carry over’ benefits

Most health insurance works in such a way that you will always have the same cover every year. However, some insurers nowadays now offer the “carry over” scheme benefits. You only need to pay a small amount for premiums for your benefits to roll over to the next year if unused. For instance, if you have a $1,000 cover for dental works and you only used up $600 dollars this year, then the unused $400 carry over to the following year, providing you $1,400 coverage for that year and so on. This scheme covers every facet of your health insurance policy; hence, you are obtaining several times cover for similar original payment.