Lower Health Care Costs

Everyone is attacking the insurance companies and rightfully so. They have been asking for it every time they come up with another excuse to deny someone the care they need. They’ve become the evil in the industry when they put a policy in place to deny, deny, deny until the people who are entitled finally give up filling out form after form.

Of course, the American people are looking to the president to solve the problem. It doesn’t look as if the problem is anywhere close to being solved. In 2008, Obama said that making the American people buy their own insurance is like requiring the homeless to buy homes. In 2010, just two years later, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act he enacted did that very thing and in 2012 it was upheld by the Supreme Court even though it was immediately challenged by a majority of the States in the U.S.

In all of this turmoil, I don’t hear too many people complaining about the cost of health care itself. I’m not saying I don’t hear people complaining at all. I’m saying that the squeaky wheel gets the attention and the squeaky wheel in all this is the complaint about insurance companies and what the president can do. Health care costs itself could use a little more attention.

When a visit to the ER for a broken wrist costs a thousand dollars, I think we’re talking about a health care system that is literally running away itself unchecked. Walk into a hospital and look on the wall for a menu, a price list or anything that other businesses are required to provide. You won’t walk into a restaurant and order before knowing what the cost will be. Why can the hospital get away with it?

So, you can’t control the insurance companies and you can’t control the mess the government is making. How about take matters in your own hands and start cutting health care costs yourself? It’s not that hard. All you need to know is that the options are available and be willing to use them.

First of all, cut down on the trips you make to the hospital or the doctor’s office. This does not apply to people who have ongoing conditions that require frequent doctor’s office visits. If that doesn’t apply to you, then by all means be your own doctor.

If you have a symptom, look it up on the internet. Go to the credible sites that offer solid advice. Webmd is at the top of my list. But, you should also look at a few others. Just like you might get a second or third opinion on serious medical conditions, go to several different sites and make sure they are all giving the same advice. Mayoclinic, Medicinenet and Healthline are some others that have articles written by doctors and you just might find the information you need.

Remember though, if you take your health care into your own hands, you are responsible for following the advice the right way and using your own discretion if you happen to have a condition that precludes you from taking said advice. In a legal slap happy world, people love putting blame on others when they really only have themselves to blame. Quit being part of the problem, looking for that easy paycheck, and become part of the solution.

Cutting down on hospital or doctor’s office visits also means that you need to stock up on certain supplies and have them in your house or in your car at all times. Make yourself a kit of common medical items that you might possibly need for non-emergency situations. Bandaids, gauze, tape, peroxide, wound cleaners and anything else that you can imagine that will make your kit complete. Make a smaller kit of only the essentials for your pocketbook or book bag.

If there is a symptom that doesn’t require emergency attention and you have tried to look it up or you are unsure of what to do, go to a clinic. That’s why they are there. Clinics offer low cost solutions to getting medical advice. But you might get offered a prescription or a treatment that you can’t afford. Don’t hesitate to ask for alternatives. You’d be surprised how effective alternative health care treatments can be.

In the case that a trip to the hospital or the doctor’s office is necessary, there are still great ways to cut down on health care costs. The first thing you need to know is that health care does not have to cost as much as it does. Keep in mind that it’s a business. The insurance companies look at it like a business. The doctors and the hospitals run it like a business. So, treat it like a business!

If you have to go to the hospital, challenge the bill when you get it. Take it to the business office and negotiate it down. There is a sizable margin of wiggle room and you have every right to ask for it. Most of the time, you’ll get a reduced cost without even an argument. When they do argue, don’t take “no” for an answer. Climb the ladder of supervisors until you get to the decision maker. You will find that behind the closed doors is a much nicer person willing to give you a highly reduced hospital bill.

If you require surgery, treatment or any health care that will be set in the future, negotiate the bill upfront. Just like negotiating the hospital bill that you’ve already received, you can negotiate future health care costs as well. Climb the ladder to the decision maker and ask them what they can do for you. If insurance companies can get discounts of up to forty percent, then why shouldn’t you be entitled to the same?

Insurance companies aren’t designed with you in mind. They are money-making factories put in place to take your money and hope that they never have to pay. Looking to the government for the solution really isn’t doing anyone any good. When the government is required to find a solution, they have to find one that fits all shapes and sizes for all of its constituents. A task that is nearly impossible.

Take matters in your hands when you can and make sure you follow through when you make that decision. You just might live longer anyway. After all, you should be able to figure out what’s best for you and possibly keep yourself out of the hospital or the doctor’s office altogether.