Shopping for Medical Care

Healthcare CostsGiven the large number of uninsured people in the U.S. and higher insurance deductibles, more people are shopping around for medical care in the same way they have always shopped for competitive pricing on electronics and cars. The need for cost comparison is real based on findings reported by the Center for Studying Health System Change. This research group reports that about 15 percent of adults younger than 65 are paying for medical costs that total more than five percent of their income.

Below are five tips for finding the most affordable quality healthcare services.

Utilize comparison websites to compare prices
The Internet has made strides into making it possible for consumers of healthcare to compare the prices of common procedures. It is important to note, that the technical jargon associated with healthcare can make cost analysis a bit more difficult. With dedication and some research, consumers can break through the medical language barrier and actually get the information they need to compare prices. HealthInReach, Healthcare BlueBook, and Out Of Pocket are three websites to check out for shopping purposes.

Call your doctor
As common sense at that statement sounds, it is not so surprising that consumers are reluctant to discuss prices with doctors. Doctors have been put on a pedestal for decades in the U.S. with little discussion about costs taking place until a patient reaches the reception area and is asked for insurance information from a friendly assistant in charge of billing. This outdated way of viewing physicians is too expensive to maintain.

Over the phone, it is a bit easier to ask about costs. Even if the doctor is reluctant to discuss cost, they will usually refer you to a person in billing to break down charges. Asking for a discount is always a good idea. The good news is that doctors often lower the cost of their services when asked for a break on price.

Consult with your Insurance Company
A new practice of insurance companies is to post prices charged by providers. Since not all providers charge the same, checking insurance websites or records is an excellent way to minimize healthcare costs.

Review state information
Hospital information is often required to be published by state governments. In at least 33 states, this requirement forces hospitals to make cost information public. In Florida, you can find that information at floridahealthfinder.

Breakout a Passport
When shopping for excellent medical care, don’t overlook the possibility of getting care in another country. Prices can be much cheaper in other countries and can be combined with a vacation trip. For anyone seriously considering this option, it is critical to do the necessary research to ensure that the quality of the service is as good as it is domestically.
 
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