Six Ways To Save Money On Your Family’s Health Care

Frugality is no foreign concept, especially in today’s economy.  News headlines aside, why spend your health care dollars where you don’t have to?  Whether you have health insurance or not, the cost of care is rising and as a consumer you can take action.

Check your bill. A recent CNN article highlighted outrageous charges in hospital bills, including $140 for a Tylenol pill in one case.  Even if you have health insurance, check your explanation of benefits that you receive from your insurance company.  If there is a mistake or something you don’t understand ask questions.  Higher insurance company payouts equals higher prices to consumers.

Question your prescriptions. Is there anything I can try first before resorting to this drug?  Sometimes lifestyle changes, home remedies or alternative medicine can be a solution to another expensive prescription, especially in the case of drugs prescribed to counteract the side effects of one you are already taking for a serious medical condition.  Talk to your doctor about your existing medications, are they really necessary?  Is there a less expensive alternative?  It also pays to price check at your pharmacy, there can be a significant difference so call and ask how much they charge before filling your prescription.  Many pharmacies, such as Target offer a wide range of low cost medications (in this case $4 generics).

Exercise. Stress can either exacerbate or even cause many health conditions.  One of the best ways to manage stress (and your waistline) is to exercise.  It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive either.  Walking, gardening, riding your bike or even mowing the lawn all counts as exercise.  View CDC’s exercise recommendations for adults here.

Garden. Not only is gardening great exercise but you end up with delicious and healthy food as a result.  Have you seen the price of organic fruits and vegetables?  Grow your own for the price of water, dirt, sunshine and a few seeds.  One of the easiest to grow is mixed lettuce and tomatoes.  Instant salad.

Shop around. No insurance?  Remember that you are your doctor’s patient and customer.  Tell the office up front you don’t have insurance and ask if they will cut a break to a cash patient. Ask about each charge up front.  Before you consent to a procedure ask how much it will cost.  If you don’t feel the office staff is working for you bring up your concerns to your doctor or look for care elsewhere.  The same goes for long waits when you have an appointment.  Frequently patients forget they are customers too, entitled to customer service.

Prevention is key. The best way to not pay for medical care is to not need it in the first place.  Eating healthy, exercise and stress management can go a long way in the prevention of the most common diseases in America: heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  Flossing, wearing a seat belt and regular acupuncture doesn’t hurt either.

Meaghan Massella, M.Ac, L.Ac is a licensed acupuncturist in Edgewater.  Edgewater Acupuncture is her mission to provide affordable acupuncture to the people of Anne Arundel county.  The clinic works on a sliding scale fee of $15-$35 for treatment, no questions asked.

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Edgewater Acupuncture provides acupuncture treatments on a sliding scale of $15-$35 with a one time $10 paperwork fee for new patients. Acupuncture is for everyone. It’s most effective when received frequently and regularly. This is the reason behind Edgewater Acupuncture’s prices — accessible, simple, effective healthcare for you and your family. This accessibility allows you to come as often as necessary for you to get healthy and stay healthy. You decide what you pay. It’s that simple.