Health insurance exists to limit your out-of-pocket spending on medical services and prescription medications. Unfortunately, many health insurance plans come with high premiums and deductibles, sometimes so high that it doesn't feel like you're saving any money at all. If you're looking for ways to reduce your medical expenses, you have some options. Keep reading to find out what they are.

How to Reduce or Eliminate Medical Bills

When you receive a medical bill from the hospital, what you don't know is that the number on it is not set in stone. Many people don't realize that you have the option to negotiate on medical bills - you may even be able to have them forgiven completely.

The first thing you need to know is that hospitals have financial assistance programs in place to help people pay for medical care they can't afford. If you are uninsured, you may automatically qualify for a bill reduction. Even if you have insurance, if it only covers part of the cost you may still qualify for assistance.

There are two primary types of financial assistance you can receive for medical bills. The first is a bill reduction or complete bill forgiveness. All you have to do is contact the hospital's billing department and ask about their options.

Depending on your situation, you could reduce the amount you owe by up to 90% or it could be forgiven entirely. Another option is a 0% interest payment plan - you simply pay as much as you can when you can with no interest. As unlikely as these scenarios might seem, you never know until you try so don't settle for paying the first bill you receive - call to explore your options!

Tips for Reducing Medical Expenses

Even if you're not able to reduce or eliminate an existing medical bill, there are still things you can do to limit your spending in the future. Here are some simple ideas:
  • Know the limits of your insurance plan. If you have health insurance, make sure you know whether you have to use certain providers or if you can go out of the plan's network without incurring additional fees.
  • Do some research ahead of time to determine average costs. If your doctor recommends a test or procedure, ask about the cost before you schedule an appointment.
  • Ask about other options and determine whether the service or procedure is medically necessary - if not, you can postpone it or avoid it entirely.
  • Ask your hospital or doctor's office about a cash discount. Paying in cash prevents your provider from having to file a claim or pay credit card transaction fees, so they may be willing to pass the savings on to you.
  • Use generic prescription drugs. Brand-name drugs can be extremely expensive but, unless the drug is very new, there is likely a generic version available for a much lower price.
  • Review your bill carefully. When you get a bill, review it carefully for errors. You should also ask for an itemized breakdown of your bill so you know exactly what you are being charged for and how much.
You shouldn't have to drain your bank account just to pay for medical care. By following the tips above you can reduce existing medical bills and make smarter choices to reduce medical spending in the future. Best of luck!

Frugal Village