As we all know, healthcare costs have been increasing every year. Unfortunately, so have our insurance deductibles. Here are some resources that provide both discounts and price-transparency.
I recommend using GoodRX to price all of your prescriptions. The same medication is often sold at very different prices at different pharmacies. Sometimes the price can vary by $100 or more. My family has saved over $1000 per year by comparing prices on the site. It may be cheaper to pay for your medication out-of-pocket than it is to pay your insurance copay fee. It may also be cheaper to get a higher dose of the medication and then to split the pills to get your proper dose. Finding the least-expensive pharmacy is one way that GoodRX helps. The other way is that they provide discount coupons for many medications. The coupons can be printed or you may show the online coupon on your phone to the pharmacist. I am happy to send your prescription to the least expensive pharmacy that you can find. Unfortunately, getting medications at multiple pharmacies can have a down-side. Medication interactions are easier to “catch” when all of your medications are prescribed to the same pharmacy.
If you have a “cash pay” visit to a provider (like me), then you may submit the information to your insurance company for reimbursement. The submission can be done online through your insurance company’s website. They will require the visit note which will be immediately available on the Amwell site. You may want to submit the visit notes with my provider identification document.
CURA4U [hyperlink] is a wonderful resource for low-cost self-pay labs and radiology studies. Their self-pay costs can be 75% less than the usual self-pay cost charged by Quest. To use this service, I will need to know so that I can provide a paper order to CURA4U. You will need to contact them to arrange the studies and the payment. They provide discount lab services at Quest and discount ultrasounds at Green Imaging.
You can use your HSA (Healthcare Savings Account) or FSA (Flexible Spending Account) to pay for healthcare expenses like telemedicine visits, medications, and more. Those accounts are usually offered through your employer’s benefit package. Money that you deposit in an HSA or FSA comes out of your check before taxes are taken out. This allows you to use pre-tax money for your healthcare–essentially bringing the cost down by about 10-25% (depending on your tax bracket).
You may find free or low-cost HIV testing, STI (sexually transmitted infection) screening, and PREP treatment with HIV.gov and with the CDC. PREP is medication taken to prevent HIV transmission for people who have sex with people who have HIV, or who are at increased risk for HIV.
Smokers can get free nicotine patches, gum, and support at 1-800-QUIT-NOW
Colorado residents have some additional resources. The 9Healthfair provides low-cost screening labs like cholesterol, vitamin D, thyroid, and more. The Healthfair travels to different communities throughout Colorado. A great price comparison tool is provided by the Center for Improving Value in Health Care. They will show the cost for a procedure or study and compare the cost between different hospitals. Oftentimes the cost for the same ultrasound can vary by hundreds of dollars depending on where you get it done.
I am always looking for ways to reduce healthcare costs. If you have other resources then please consider contacting me so that I can share the information with others. Thanks!