December is here which means it’s time to ponder the decisions we’ve made and reassess the habits we’ve picked up over the past year. Now is the time to make resolutions and (hopefully) keep them this next year.
Most resolutions fall in the health and wellness bucket (think: lose 5 lbs, stop smoking) or in the financial sphere (pack your lunch every week, contribute more to retirement). While trying to limit your daily spending might be great, healthcare costs are most likely a culprit in your wallet feeling lighter. It’s estimated that in 2017, the average person spent $10,739 on healthcare-related costs.
"in 2017, the average person spent $10,739 on healthcare-related costs."
Here are some ways to drastically slash those costs.
1. Maximize Open Enrollment:
Many people don’t place enough emphasis on the important decisions they make during Open Enrollment. We spend hours shopping for the best price on the internet for our holiday gift-giving but tend to breeze through benefit decisions in a matter of minutes. Open enrollment allows you to change or modify your benefit selections to better match your needs. You could be paying for benefits that you aren’t utilizing and aren’t matching your needs – or on the other hand, you could be lacking benefits that could cut down on your out-of-pocket medical costs. It’s important to understand your plan and make sure it matches what you need. Be vigilant even if your open enrollment period is over – many plans offer a 30-day buffer to change your elections afterward. It’s never too early to start looking at your plan and assessing your needs. If you’re lucky enough to work for an employer that offers TouchCare as a benefit, we’ll help you make the best decision based on your own personal needs. Just schedule a 1:1 consultation with one of our specialists and we’ll walk you through your options.
2. Shop Around & Do Your Research:
If you’re about to pay for anything medically related such as a health screening, a checkup, or a treatment plan (to name a few) that seems costly you should ensure that there aren’t better options somewhere else. Remember, medical costs don’t follow a fixed-price system, and you could be getting the same service at a much lower price. Something as simple as an MRI can have a cost variance upwards of 4,000% in the same zip code! If you’re a TouchCare member, we’ll help do the shopping for you. We’ll provide a side-by-side cost comparison for different providers to ensure you find the best bang for your healthcare buck.
3. Be More Generic:
Prescriptions can be costly but are often needed. The trick to saving on them is to ensure that you aren’t over-paying because you’re getting a brand name medication. Most prescriptions have generic equivalents that are far cheaper than the brand name versions. All you need to do is ask your provider or pharmacist if the prescription you need has a generic version and then asked to be switched to that. Prescription prices can even vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, so be sure to do your research. The RxCare program through TouchCare helps members find the cheapest medications to fit their needs. Whether it be mail-order, bulk discounts, pill-splitting, or online coupons, we make sure our members pay the least for their drugs.
4. Avoid the ER:
The average cost of an emergency room visit is around $1,400. This number excludes any extra treatment or testing such as blood tests, IVs, medicine or other treatments. Additionally, 71% of emergency room visits made with employer-sponsored insurance coverage were for non-emergency visits. Some solutions to this would be to call your doctor’s office to get advice on how to proceed or make an appointment with them (if you can wait), go to urgent care ( that’s in-network), or access a telehealthcare solution. Skip the wait with TouchCare’s Virtual ER. TouchCare’s Virtual ER allows you to get access to personalized medical guidance and treatment no matter what or when your medical issue arises.
5. Understand Your Medical Bills:
Up to 80% of medical bills contain errors. The people sending and processing your medical bills are human and make mistakes. You shouldn’t just assume that everything on your bill is correct – if you do you you’re probably losing money for absolutely no reason. Often either the facility or your insurer has a number or a website to dispute any medical errors. At TouchCare we’ve seen it all. From prosthetic limb charges for a basic bone break to out-of-network charges resulting from basic human error. The good news is that our billing experts make sure our members never pay too much or for services they didn’t receive.