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Saving Money on Health Insurance, Doctors Visits, and Prescription Medicine

By: Green Panda | Date posted: April 13, 2009 (7:00 am) | Write a Comment (17 Comments)

Why do I need health insurance?

The National Coalition on Health Care has reported 46 million Americans do not have any kind of health insurance. Being a part of that statistic is dangerous for your health and your wallet. A single visit in the emergency room can be more than $1,200.

When you get a health insurance policy you’re doing business with a company that hopes to take in more money than it pays out. It’s not wrong it’s just a basic business point; it’s a matter of assessing risk. You can benefit from this if you’re healthy person.

The company is planning on on having your health bills and expenses being less than the income they get with your premiums in the long run. If you’re healthy person, they expect to pay less out-of-pocket, so you have the benefit of lower premiums.

doctor-office

Comparing Health Insurances to Find the Best Deal

Check first with your company’s Human Resource Department to see if you qualify for health insurance through them. Sometimes your health insurance premiums are lower when you go through your job’s plan.

If you don’t qualify or your job doesn’t offer health insurance, you should look for a health plan yourself. Usually these sites to find policies within your price range:

Carefully compare health insurance policies before signing up. I have used Ehealthinsurance to compare different policies. I found it easy to see what I was looking for.

Some questions to ask yourself with each health insurance policy:

  • How much can I pay for my premiums? Since everyone is on a general budget, try to figure out what you can and can’t afford before you start shopping. Health insurance costs vary, so double check your options.
  • What is my deductible? The deductible is what you pay before the health insurance company will pay the rest your bill. The lower deductible the higher your monthly premiums.
  • What is my coinsurance? Coinsurance is your portion of the bill that you pay after the deductible has been met.

For example: if you had a $2000 bill and your deductible was a $500 and your coinsurance with 50%, then your portion of the bill is $1250. How?

$2,000 – $500 (deductible) = $1500

$1500 * 50% (your coinsurance) = $750

$500 + $750 =$1250

That’s why its support and to check your coinsurance and deductible before you sign up for a policy.

What if I’m a recent college graduate looking for a job or I have a job and don’t get qualified for my company’s health insurance and I had very little income? Should I still get health insurance?

If you are very short on cash, do not think that skipping out on health insurance is a good deal. Hospital bills are very expensive and you only need one visit to set you back financially in a major way.

You can check for rates on short-term or catastrophe health insurance plans. Short-term plans can cover you one to six months which may be able to get you covered until you can get enough income to cover an individual health insurance plan.

Catastrophe health insurance typically only pays for major medical bills if you get injured or get sick. A policy covers any percentage of your care. Try looking for one with no less than 80% coverage and double check the maximum benefit. Since hospital stays can be so expensive you want to have a reasonable amount of coverage.

Saving Money on Doctor Visits

  • Let your doctor know up front that you’re on a budget. Don’t is still that a doctor will give you the best deal just because of the economy. If you need a prescription and he or she mentions a particular drug ask your doctor if there is a generic that is just as effective. Many pharmacy now have some generic medicines for $4/month.
  • Join the Farm Bureau. After paying a annual membership fee, you can qualify for group health insurance. You don’t need to be a farmer to join.
  • If there are no generics available, see if they can quickly check what your insurance expects you to pay for this medicine. If you’re uncomfortable asking them to do this, before you leave the doctor’s office call your local pharmacy to check the price yourself.
  • If you don’t have dental insurance, try a local dental school to see if they have any openings for patients. Try and use this for your weekly checkups.
  • For items like prescription eyeglasses or contact lens, shop around online to see if you can get a good deal.

prescription

Saving money on prescription medicine

  • If you’re still in college, check with your universities health clinic and see if you can get cheaper prices on some of your medicines. I had a prescription that was $30 a month but through the university health clinic I could get three month supply for $40.
  • Ask your doctor if they have any samples and you can also see if they have something like a rebate coupon. My brother was able to get a 14 day supply for free using the rebate form and redeemed it at the pharmacy.
  • If you’re extremely limited on funds and need medication, go ahead and Google “name of the prescription medicine” and patient assistance. You should be able to find a drug manufacturers patient assistance program. See if you meet the requirements to get prescription meds free and then apply.
  • See if you can get a discount prescription medicine program. Mrs Micah was able to get her medicine $20 less a month through Rx.com.

If you can save money while having health insurance, not only are you protecting yourself physically, but also financially.

Do you have any stories or tips on saving money on health insurance, doctors’ visits, and/or prescription medicines?

Photo Credits:  Subconsci Productions andTrevor Manternach

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17 Comments
  1. Comment by Baker @ ManVsDebt — April 13, 2009 @ 10:24 am

    Great post!

    We’ve been taking my wife insurance through her employer (school corporation) for granted. We are planning on relocating to Australia soon and will need to focus much more on researching and finding the best private insurance once again. Actually, I had forgot about this up until I had read this article, so thanks!

  2. Comment by Miranda — April 13, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

    I used healthinsurance.org to find my plan. However, we’re hoping that when my husband gets a job we’ll be able to get insurance that way.

  3. Comment by Green Panda — April 13, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

    @Baker: I hope you find something that works well with you. Have a great move.

    @Miranda: I wish you guys well!

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  6. Comment by Magali — May 12, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

    Glad you chose to write about this. It’s a big problem for young adults who have left the nest but don’t have their own insurance yet. Luckily, most people in this age bracket are pretty healthy, but accidents happen.

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  8. Comment by tammy — May 21, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

    This isn’t just a problem for graduates. I’m in the music business and bemoan the lack of health insurance. It is just not affordable but neither is getting sick. Talk about a rock and hard place!
    I’m checking out the suggested sites. It would be wonderful to run across something affordable!

  9. Comment by Green Panda — May 22, 2009 @ 8:05 am

    Many people who even have a minor accident can be set back thousands of dollars due to the hight cost of ER visits.

  10. Comment by Green Panda — May 22, 2009 @ 8:06 am

    Tammy,
    I hope you’ll be able to find something; please update me if you find something affordable.

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  12. Comment by Ryan P Smith — June 4, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

    If you already owe medical expenses it is worth a phone call to try and reduce the amount owed. Medical Bills are all very negotiable.

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  17. Comment by Vista Health Solutions — March 31, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

    Though most people today have, some type of medical insurance coverage through their employer the risk of losing the employer insurance plan is greater than if you had a health insurance plan independent of whatever company your are employed. One of the more attractive benefits is that whether you stay employed at your current place of employment or transfer to another for higher pay and stability your health insurance plan remains with you.

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