Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Frugal Healthcare Management - Part II

Here are more tips on how to do your part to keep healthcare costs down:

3) Review your Explanation of Benefits. Most people don't. Check service dates and service provided. If they don't jive with what happened at your appointment or the dates are wrong, immediately notify your healthcare plan. They can then make necessary adjustments or contact the doctor/provider for additional information. I have caught several mistakes by both provider and insurance plans that would have cost someone money - remember that in the long term, "someone" is YOU.

4) If you do get sick, use services wisely. We've made trips to the emergency room but I think of that option as the absolute last resort. The moment I get a call from daycare that a child is sick, I am on the phone with our pediatrician for a same day appointment. Not only is the emergency room the most expensive form of care, think about the amount of time that it takes to get treatment.

5) Take advantage of Flexible Spending Accounts. Tax benefits and plans differ, but generally your employer deducts a chosen amount from your paycheck and then when you need to, you use those funds to pay for out of pocket health expenses or deductibles. My husbands health care provider offers this option which they tout as another good option for healthy people.

6) Our dental plan provides a certain amount of coverage each year and at the end of the year, our dentist is always sending us reminders to "use up your allotments." He wants us to come in for additional services to "use it up." We don't agree with this attitude and frankly, we get really irritated that he tries to solicit us like this. Now, I know it's his way of trying to generate additional business but this is part of the reasons costs increase: people use services because they are there, not necessarily because they need them.

These are just my opinions on how to cut costs for what is arguably one of the most pressing issues in our society. I'd love to hear your healthcare savings ideas - leave me a comment and let me know your ideas!

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Seattle Area, Washington - the state
I am an attorney, working mom of 3, who loves a bargain, a great deal and freebies. Who doesn't want the best, for less? Come here to see my triumphs and budget tribulations, good deals and my take on what the good life can mean...