Illness happens, especially during this time of year. There isn’t much you can do about the need for doctor’s visit and medications, but there is something you can do about the cost. Here are a few quick tips to save on health expenses:
- Clinic vs. Doctor’s office: Clinics are cropping up all over the city in grocery stores and pharmacies. They are generally staffed with nurse practitioner’s and are able to handle diagnosis and treatment of most illnesses. Not only are they more convenient (nearby, evening & weekend hours, no appointment necessary) but they are cheaper than an office visit if you have to pay out of pocket.
- Negotiate with your doctor: If you have a high deductible health plan (or none at all), your doctor may be willing to accept a reduced fee in exchange for up front payment.
- Prescription Savings: There are numerous ways to save on drug costs. Ask your doctor for samples or coupons for prescription or over the counter medications. Request a 3-month sample if you have regular prescriptions. Consider mail order prescriptions, especially if your insurance company offers a discount program. Be aware of store programs designed to get you in the door.
- HSA or FSA: If your company offers health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts, enrollment can save money by allowing you to pay for health related expenses (including over the counter medicine and sunscreen) with pre-tax dollars.