6 Tips to Save Money on Medical Expenses

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tips to save money on medical
Medical Bills is our families BIGGEST financial struggle- it’s no secret. Many teachers have pathetic health insurance- and we are no exception! Unfortunately it doesn’t look like our insurance will be getting any better anytime soon! We’re paying almost $8000 extra a year on our premiums now! Add that to our $7000+ hospital bill and it’s a disaster!
When you are on an already tight budget how in the world do you pay something like that off? It quickly compounds when kids go to the doctor, and the bills start flying in. Unfortunately I don’t have any magic secret (if you’ve found one let me know!!). Last year we had a great insurance for the first time since we’ve been married but we’re back to paying out the whazoo again.
Since we usually have several different medical payments due every month here are a few ways to help manage the bills. I won’t lie, it is still hard and gets you down sometimes, but here are a few ideas that may help you! Be proactive! Instead of simply paying your payments every month, brainstorm each month to see if there is any way that you can set things up differently!
1. Set up a payment plan. This is a #1 necessity when we receive in a large medical bill. If it’s under $200 we pay it up front every time – even if it makes life tighter. If it’s larger than we can handle in a month we set up payments. One nice thing that I have found about medical payments is that (at least for us)- our medical payments never have interest. I’ve been on various medical payment plans for 7 years now and never paid interest. It doesn’t seem like much but interest REALLY adds up quick. At least I can look at the calendar and see exactly when the payments will be done! (that is, if you don’t keep accruing a balance!)

2. Skip a payment. WHAT?! Did I seriously just suggest that? Skip a payment ONLY if you have called the company and asked to do so without penalty! (and obviously this is not something you can do every month!) I have found that if you absolutely cannot pay your monthly payment most places are willing to allow you to pay less for a month or two to fit your budget (or even skip 1 month!). If you can though, pay a little extra on the “good” months- even if it’s only $10. In fact I make it a point every month to pay extra unless we really can’t afford the extra $10.

3. Ask for a discount. Every month ask if they will give you a discount if you pay it all up front. Even if the bill is only $100! Some of our bills never offer a discount. Some have told me that it depends on the day. One day their manager will tell them it’s a discount day and then they will allow it. Every company and medical office is different – it doesn’t hurt to ask.

4. Self-Pay. Sometimes it is cheaper to ask for the doctor bill without insurance as a self-pay. Sounds crazy I know. Typically when a doctor/hospital charges an amount with insurance it is highly inflated. If you have to pay 100% up to a high deductible that you know you probably won’t meet anyways, the self-pay without insurance rate is usually considerably cheaper. It won’t go towards your deductible this way, but if you aren’t expecting a lot of bills it may be worth it! I almost always pay out of pocket to our chiropractor office because it only cost $20 as opposed to a $30 co-pay!

5. Use your tax return money! Sometimes after you have several different medical payments every month it gets extremely overwhelming! Our family uses our tax return money every year for bills (insurance, repairs, etc.) and a large amount of it is always always always set aside for medical bills. We spend at least $1000 of our tax return every year on medical bills. It can be a great morale boost if you can use that money to pay off 1, 2, or even 3 different bills!

6. Code it differently. Sometimes in unique situations when you are expecting testing or therapy, you can discuss with the billing department if they will code it differently so that insurance will cover the cost. For example, my son needed occupational therapy for his sensory disorder, but my insurance would NOT cover anything sensory related. However, he DID have a fine motor delay, and I was able to go back to the doctor and get him to re-write a prescription for billing purposes that specifically said “fine motor delay” NOT “sensory diagnosis”.

I have found that many times doctors and billing centers are willing to work with you if possible to help you save money. This of course won’t work for a regular doctor appointment, but keep this in mind if you come across a situation where your insurance won’t cover something. If you ask the right questions you can find out what they DO cover, and see if you can get around it another way.


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  1. Adelina Priddis says:

    Just found you through the Welcome to the Weekend Hop, and I am so excited! I am a new teachers wife (hubs just finished his first year teaching!). I'll probably find myself here often 🙂 We've just been avoiding the doctor lately. If we're concerned we call my brother in law, the PA first.

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