Ways to save on your medical bills

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Kendal Perez from Hassle Free Savings shows us how.

Get Quotes for Care

While it may not be news that hospitals charge more than other facilities, the cost difference of a simple exam may still surprise you. The broker shared a story about a client who needed an MRI for his neck and was told by the hospital it would cost $2,400. The imaging center in town quoted him $600, and another facility in a neighboring area could do the procedure for $350. This $2,000 price difference is significant regardless of your income, and highlights the necessity of getting bids on medical procedures.

Consider Outpatient Surgery

Ambulatory surgery centers are growing in popularity as affordable alternatives to hospitals for basic procedures. Not only will your surgery cost about 30 percent less than if you had the procedure performed at a hospital, you'll get in and out quicker, too. Minor or intermediate procedures -- like a colonoscopy or knee surgery -- are better done at ambulatory surgery centers because they can be performed quickly and recovery can occur at home.

Ask a Nurse

Most of the top health insurance providers like Anthem and UnitedHealthcare offer 24-7 nurse lines for toll-free calling. Nurses can provide answers to general health questions and help you decide if a visit to the doctor’s office is necessary. Checking in with a professional before you pay a copay will dramatically reduce your medical costs if you find yourself at the clinic for every sniffle.

Remember Urgent Care

When you twist your ankle or are so congested you can hardly breathe, you might check into the emergency room for relief. Though you should never delay treatment when you feel you really need it, remember the emergency room is for just that -- emergencies. Urgent care facilities are designed to accommodate patients with an immediate need that’s not life-threatening, and will treat you for much less. For example, the average cost of diagnosing and treating strep throat at the emergency room is $531, whereas an urgent care facility would charge around $111. Refer to Debt.org for more of these comparisons.

Request Free Samples

Some of the high costs associated with prescription meds are attributed to all the samples pharmaceutical companies give to doctors and other medical professionals. Ask your physician about available samples to offset the cost of your prescription, or search online for free offers. You can find free diabetic meters, recipe books and supplement guides from MrFreeStuff.com, for example.