Healthcare is expensive. There, we said it. If you have a condition that requires regular treatment, bills will accumulate and prescriptions need to be filled. And while ignoring your care plan can save in the short-term, the mid and long-term consequences are costly– to your health and your wallet.
But there is good news. With a little knowledge, a commitment to living a healthy lifestyle, and help from a good family practice, you can make healthcare more affordable. Here are a few ways to maximize both your health and your spend.
Shop for the Right Insurance Policies and Medications. This requires some research as both of these purchases can be complicated. Not all health plans are created equal, nor are they all available to anyone who wants it. If you can predict how and where you may need healthcare it can help your decision, but that’s not always the case. If you have a doctor you love or a medication you need to take, make sure they’re covered. A quick phone call will usually do the trick.
As for medications, there are plenty of online sources that offer discounts or a price comparison chart. GoodRX.com, Discount Drug Network and a handful of others show you how and where you can save by presenting one of their coupons every time you have a prescription filled. Another way to save is to simply ask your doctor for a generic brand.
Choose the Right Facility. Different facilities are designed for different needs, and costs vary widely. If you have a life-threatening emergency, go to the Hospital. But Hospitals are expensive to operate and often charge more for services you can get less expensive elsewhere. And most of the time you’ll have a better experience. Your primary care physician should know you well and can treat most non-emergency situations at a lower total cost. And some, like Eagles Landing Family Practice, offer same-day and walk-in appointments to handle those unpredictable events of life.
Seek Out Free (or Low-cost) Screenings. Family practices or clinics often hold community health fairs or booths at functions that offer you free screenings or coupons. These screenings range from diabetes and hypertension to mammograms and other tests. In most cases, your family practice should let you know when you need a screening– but keep yourself educated and ask. Many of the basic screenings are covered at 100% by insurance because they know how important they are in reducing long-term healthcare costs.
Bring Your Test Results. Visiting a new doctor with test results in hand will save you both time and money, especially if the tests were administered recently. Plus, your new doctor will have much more information to do their job well.
Preventative Care. A good preventative care program has a huge impact on your overall healthcare expenses. Work with your doctor to put together a personalized plan, then follow-it. This typically entails maintaining a healthy lifestyle, taking prescription medications and getting regular checkups and screenings to identify any problems early.
Timing is Everything. Timing plays a huge factor in both your outcomes and costs. Schedule your visits and tests before the end of the year to leverage both your deductible and out of pocket maximum.
Getting good, affordable healthcare isn’t easy– but it’s not a losing battle. And it’s not something you can do on your own. You need a family practice that doesn’t just treat problems, but can serve as an advocate for you as a partner in health. If you don’t have this, give us a call and we’d be glad to show you what that looks like. Eagles Landing Family Practice (ELFP) is open seven days a week and offers extended hours to provide the primary care you need at the time you need it. Visit www.elfp.com for more information about our providers and services at our nine locations across Henry, Butts and Rockdale counties, or call 770-268-4827.