Healthcare Comparison Shopping: Tips for an Educated Consumer

by | Nov 1, 2011 | Employee Benefits, Farrell Backlund, Health Insurance

Being a savvy consumer is a great trait to have; it affects all aspects of how you purchase items.  Bargain hunters, as they’re often called are constantly comparison shopping to get the best deals available for the products or services they desire.  This trait carries over to many different aspects of life ranging from grocery shopping, to clothing and buying a car.  But, what most people don’t realize is that being a price-conscious consumer doesn’t have to just affect how we purchase material possessions.  Consumerism is becoming increasingly important in where you receive healthcare and how much it will cost you.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that healthcare is a serious issue that is not to be taken lightly.  With health insurance premiums rising each year, it is truly important to become well-versed as to the ins and outs of your health care plan—because it really can save you money.  Let’s face it, not everyone that has a health plan understands exactly how it works—so listed below are a few things to consider when choosing the best plan for you.

  1. Know what type of plan you have.  (HMO’s which require a referral from your primary doctor to receive specialty care.  Or PPO’s which allow you to go see a specialist without having to see your primary care physician.)
  2.  Be aware of your deductible. (Deductible plans are becoming the standard in today’s market, so knowing how much you’ll have to pay up front for healthcare allows you to budget properly.)
  3. Be aware of the cost associated with diagnostic tests.  (MRIs, CAT scans and PET scans are all important tests, but what most don’t know is that if you choose to go to a high-cost hospital over going to Shields MRI for example, you could pay double the amount!)
  4. Research a fitness reimbursement.  (Most carriers offer a fitness reimbursement if you have a gym membership, and it could be as much as $250!)
  5. Be mindful of prescriptions. (Asking for a generic versus a brand name could save you twenty-forty dollars per refill)
  6. Look into mail order prescriptions. (If you have medication that you routinely take, such as Blood Pressure or Cholesterol medication- you could receive 3 months supply for the price of 2 months)
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. (Your doctor is not infallible; you can inquire about what tests they’re asking you to get done and what the tests will actually show.  After all, there could be an alternative)

By using these seven tips, you could save yourself both time and, more importantly, a significant amount of money.  Becoming aware of the rising healthcare costs that this nation will face in coming years will better equip you to confront these issues with a new found confidence and allow you to be an educated and savvy consumer in a world where most people are just going with the flow, and unknowingly losing money.


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