Although healthcare is costly, there are practical ways to save on doctor appointments. Even with health insurance, a doctor appointment or other medical service might result in unexpected out-of-pocket costs. Not a problem if you have extra income, but if you’re cash-strapped, the cost of healthcare might be too much to handle. Here is a look at seven possible ways to save on doctor appointments.
1 Go to Urgent Care
Going to the emergency room is one option if you need medical care after your doctor’s regular hours. However, emergency care isn't cheap. The emergency room is recommended for serious medical conditions, such as difficulty breathing or chest pains. But for minor problems, such as an eye infection, a broken bone, the flu or a sinus infection, you can save on doctor appointments by going to your nearest urgent care facility.
2 Cancel Appointments within 24 Hours
If you skip a doctor appointment, your doctor may charge a no-show fee, which can be $100 or more. To avoid this fee, always cancel doctor appointments in advance, if possible. Many facilities require at least 24 to 48 hours notice. Your doctor may waive last-minute cancellations if you reschedule.
3 Self-treat at Home, First
The truth is, you don't have to run to the doctor for every ailment. Before heading to a doctor, self-treat and manage your condition at home for a couple of days. Of course, this doesn’t apply if you’re dealing with suffering pain or worsening conditions.
4 Ask about Uninsured Discounts
You might avoid the doctor if you don't have health insurance. However, some medical facilities understand your plight. For this matter, your doctor may offer a discount for appointments and services if you do not have medical insurance. Call your doctor’s office today and inquire about this provision.
5 Free Clinics
Your primary care physician and urgent care aren’t the only places where you can receive quality medical treatment. If you do not have health insurance, or simply can't afford your health insurance deductible or co-pay, check with free clinics. Depending on the clinic, you might need an appointment. However, some clinics allow walk-ins, although there might be a longer wait.
6 Bring up All Complaints on a Single Visit
If you have a doctor appointment scheduled, make a list of all your concerns. This way, you can bring these concerns to your doctor’s attention in one visit, thus avoiding multiple trips to the physician and multiple co-pays. For example, if you have an annual physical scheduled, this is an excellent time to discuss any chronic pain and other nagging ailments with your doctor.
7 Know Your Coverage
Being familiar with your health plan can also help you save on doctor appointments. Your insurance plan may only cover certain exams and procedures every few years. Therefore, if you receive the same test within a short timeframe, there may be out-of-pocket costs associated with the test. For example, your insurance may only cover eye exams every two years, or a bone density test every three years.
Although healthcare can be costly, it is important to your overall well-being. Understandably, some doctor visits might break the budget, but if you apply these tips, you can get the medical care you need for less. How have you saved on doctor appointments?
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