Are you one of the 40%* of Americans that have health insurance that requires them to open their wallets for the first few thousand dollars’ worth of care they receive every year, before the insurance coverage kicks in?Are you proactive about saving, shopping around for better prices, talking to your doctors about costs, or making other consumer-type moves?
The results of a study conducted by a team from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation show the following:
- In all, 58 percent of poll participants said they had an account to put aside money for medical expenses, including HSAs. But only 40 percent of the entire sample had actually saved any money for their future medical costs.
- Only 25 percent had talked to a healthcare provider about the cost of a service.
- Only 14 percent had compared prices for the same service or product, or the quality ratings for different providers.
- Only 6 percent had tried to negotiate the price of a health care service, either in advance or after they received a bill for a service they’d received.
So what does this mean for you? When it comes to medical tests and procedures do your research. Shop around, compare prices, ask questions, check quality ratings. Some healthcare providers have information you can access to help with your research. Once you’ve done your online financial due diligence, you should discuss prices with medical professionals or hospitals before going in for any treatment. If you’re going out of your health plan’s network and want to negotiate, you can start by aiming for the Medicare rate or something close to what commercial insurers pay, though you may not be able to get to that price point. You may get a better deal if you are willing to pay cash up front. As January 1 approaches and many of us begin new medical coverage programs, it is as good a time as any to become a more proactive consumer.
The bottom line is....to watch your bottom line!
If you have questions, please feel free to contact one of our Benefit Consultants.
*According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention