Hello couponers! My name is Stephanie and I’m on both ends of the healthcare cost arguments as a doctor and a patient. I can tell you that it is not fun on either end! I have heard every discussion possible when it comes to healthcare reform, insurance costs, and medical bills. Simply put, healthcare is expensive! We all complain when it comes to the cost of insurance, but we can’t imagine paying a medical bill in an emergency without it. I’m going to offer some tips that may be able to reduce your medical expenses! I have used these tips myself over the last two years.

1. Get a group discount

Some MDs, dentists, and chiropractors offer discounts when several members from one family are getting medical services performed at the same time, so be sure to ask your doctor if this description fits you and your family’s needs.

2. Shop around

Shop around for your medical needs just as you do with your groceries! Driving 15 minutes out of the way can save you a lot of bank. Rural areas are often less expensive due to the lower cost of living, so the doctor’s fees will often reflect that.

3. Take advantage of sales

Look for sale prices on services that can wait to be done. School physicals are generally discounted at the end of the school year, and the price can drop as low as $10!

4. Visit a future doctor

Go to medical, dental or chiropractic schools to get your medical services done. They offer very low rates and sometimes have free clinics. The students are closely supervised by experienced doctors, but be aware of the long wait list.

5. Purchase a Groupon

Groupons on teeth cleanings, teeth whitening, massages, nutrition, or other services have restrictions but can be very helpful when trying to cut wellness costs. The provider isn’t some “fly-by-night quack” but is just a business owner driving traffic to their office.

6. Work with the billing department

Ask the medical facility’s billing department if a discount can be applied to pay off the remainder of a large medical bill ($1,000+). Most will offer a percentage off (generally up to 20%).  You would be surprised what kind of deal you can get. Most businesses would rather have more money up front than take a year of payments.

7. Verify coverage before your appointment

Call your insurance company before your doctor’s appointment. A patient can verify that their doctor is in their network and that their visit will be covered. Out-of-network providers may not be covered by the patient’s insurance or they may have a higher out-of-network deductible. Also, make sure that the service being performed is covered by insurance before your appointment.

8. Read your EOB

Read your estimation of benefits (EOB) after you have received the processed insurance claim (EOB is the paper that you get back from your insurance company after a medical claim has been submitted). If your insurance claim to your doctor wasn’t covered, then call your insurance company as soon as possible. Billing mistakes from the doctor’s office to the insurance companies can be made. Insurance companies often make coding errors as well, and medical visits may not get paid. Many do not realize that they can call and get these claims resubmitted. Humans work on both ends so errors will be made!

This is a guest post by Stephanie from Wichita, KS.