Medical conditions are sometimes less painful than the medical care costs. Planning a bit for how to manage medical costs, can help you avoid these additional pains.
- Find and regularly see a good primary care physician (PCP). The doctor who is good for you will fit your communication style, be within a reasonable distance from you, and be available. Talk with your PCP about costs of medical care and medication. For medication, older drugs are often cheaper and equally effective; generic drugs are cheapest; samples are free. For tests, ask if the test results will change treatment recommendations. If not, ask if wait-and-see is reasonable. See your PCP annually. You want to prevent problems.
- Don’t go naked! Pick a health insurance plan and enroll. There are several types of plans and within them many variations in deductible levels, copays, and maximum out-of-pocket (OOP) costs. Anything you have is better than the exposure of nothing. Insurance includes a contracted discount rate with some providers, meaning you will have to pay less OOP than anyone without insurance. Insurance also limits the total you could be liable for in the event of a catastrophe. Good insurance can contain the costs of future risks you would face if you are diagnosed with a medical condition, such as diabetes or hepatitis, that can drain all your money over time.
- DIY. Talk with your PCP if you have a question about self-care for anything, but there are many healthcare concerns you can manage yourself. Maintaining good health is primary. Eat well enough, sleep enough, exercise enough. Wash your hands often, and take care of your teeth. Get a flu shot. You know mangy more good tips. It does matter. Do basic first aid yourself. Try over the counter antihistamines for allergies, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin for pain; Benadryl to help sleep; hot baths or showers for stress; ice for strains and bumps. If it gets better, then you’re better off.
with follow-up questions, for advice about resolving a health benefit problem you're having right now, or with questions about your present coverage.
with any healthcare plan, or health insurer, or health care provider.