Chop Chop: How to Rein in Healthcare Costs
Beginning Oct. 1, 2013, Americans can begin to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, what is widely known as Obamacare. The new healthcare plan kicks in on Jan. 1, 2014, expanding access to health insurance options currently not available to tens of millions of Americans.
Obamacare is not without controversy and its promised savings are not living up to what President Obama had said we’d see when the mandate was signed into law. Indeed, in some states such as South Carolina and Ohio, steep price rises are anticipated reports UPI. Thus, consumers will need to find ways to rein in their healthcare costs by employing a variety of methods including the following.
You and Your Doctor
Up to now, most consumers paid doctors whatever the doctor’s office said was due. Now, consumers should discuss with the front desk what their costs will be up front and, if possible, ask for a discount.
Some health care providers immediately grant a deduction for customers that pay ahead of time and in cash. Thus, if you are able to pay up front, take the deduction and file your claim directly with the insurance company.
Examine Your Plan Choices
Under the Affordable Care Act, consumers can choose four levels of care, including bronze, silver, gold and platinum plans. Insurers are not required to offer all four levels, but they must offer at least one silver and one gold plan.
All four levels are based on actuarial value with a bronze plan covering 60 percent of all health care costs for an average American to 90 percent under the platinum plan. Know that if you have many health concerns, you may still pay much more than the average American regardless of the plan. Consider purchasing a catastrophic plan, if available, to rein in your costs.
Your Drug Benefit
One cost that can quickly can spiral out of control is what you pay for prescription medicines. Under the new plan, your co-pay will be tiered, costing you $11, $28, $49 or $89 depending on how the drug is categorized.
If keeping costs down is your primary concern, then exploring your generic options will save you money. Not all drugs have a generic equivalent and not all such drugs work as well as the original. Talk with your doctor about your options and inform him or her that you would like to save money.
Healthy Living Cost Reduction
As you explore your health care options, a number of insurance plans are also providing deductions for people that are willing to take health risk assessments and follow guidelines to keep chronic conditions in check.
Choosing a healthy lifestyle and practicing health smart behavior can save you money. Your insurer will outline the requirements for participating, an option that can save you 5 to 15 percent on your healthcare premium.
The new healthcare plan will require Americans to purchase insurance or face fines. The fourth quarter of 2013 will be a busy sign up period when Americans will review their options and make plan choices that will, hopefully, help them rein in their costs.