Web site has health care savings tips

by Lesley Politi on November 14, 2008

Web site has health care savings tips
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A new 10-part health-care savings blog series on www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org offers ways for consumers to save without cutting back on care.

1. Know your coverage. Choose or change your health plan based on your needs.

2. Talk to your doctor to save on prescription drugs. Your doctors may be able to advise you on whether you still need all the medications you’re taking, or whether you can substitute cheaper but effective generic drugs for some of them.

3. Take advantage of free screenings and low-cost options. Many workplaces, community health fairs, and health organizations offer free flu shots, blood pressure tests, and screenings for common cancers, heart problems, or other conditions.

4. Negotiate your medical bills and check for errors. You may be able to reduce your bill by as much as 50 percent.

5. Use tax deductions and credits to lower your spending. Make sure you know the relevant tax laws to claim appropriate deductions and credits.

6. Stretch your health dollar with tax-free accounts. Flexible spending accounts allow you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for out-of-pocket health expenditures.

7. Shop around for prescription drugs. Prices for drugs can vary by store.

8. Avoid unnecessary visits, tests, and treatments. Consumer Reports investigated “treatment traps” and came up with 10 overused tests and treatments.

9. Explore low-income programs and insurance for the unemployed. Programs such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program can help struggling families get health care.

10. Find out about condition-based programs. Some public and private programs provide coverage or care for people with specific conditions, like certain cancers or sickle cell disease.

Source: www.post-gazette.com



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