Practical Saver : Tips for saving money on healthcare
Westhill Consulting Insurance
Practical Saver: Tips for saving money on healthcare
By KARA ROZENDAAL
Changes in the health insurance arena have many consumers scrambling for affordable options. Don't despair; there are still ways to save significant money on healthcare. Below are a few medical resources that Prescott has to offer, as well as tips on how to pay less at the doctor's office, and an alternative to health insurance.
To save money on premiums, many families opt for higher-deductible health insurance policies. High deductibles generally equate to lower monthly insurance premiums. However, in exchange, the majority of the medical expenses are paid out of pocket. In the case where doctor's visits and medical treatment are paid out-of-pocket, you can save money by asking the medical office if there is a cash pay discount. When a patient pays cash and the business doesn't need to submit the claim to the insurance company, it saves the office time. In fact, many establishments offer a 20 percent discount for cash payment. Last year paying cash saved our household $1,000 by allowing us to pay $400 for an MRI versus paying the insurance rate of $1,400.
If you have children enrolled in the Humboldt, Prescott or Chino Valley school districts, free health care checks are available to them through the YRMC's Partners for Healthy Students Program. Children and/or their siblings who have no health insurance or ones that have a deductible over $2,500 (and no co-pay before the insurance will cover medical expenses) are eligible for this free school-based clinic. Yes, the service is free! The clinic offices are located on school campuses on various days of the week, as well as in a Mobile Kid's Clinic that visits the outlying areas of Mayer, Kirkland and Yarnell. Clinic visits are by appointment only and they offer well exams, sports physicals and ill childcare. The check-up is provided by certified nurse pediatric practitioners. Many of our friends have used this service and rave about the care and thorough treatment received. Call 771-5662 for more information.
Money can also be saved on childhood immunizations at the Yavapai County Health Department. The Arizona Partnership for Immunization (TAPI) provides affordable immunizations for uninsured children under age 18, and those whose insurance does not cover the cost of all vaccines.
There is a $20 administrative fee and the program covers the cost of the vaccines. For more information, call 583-1000.
Fortunately, adults in Prescott have options to save on routine health care as well. Prescott Health Clinic at 1003 Division, Suite #2 in Prescott, offers routine medical visits for $38. They do not accept any medical insurance, and payment is required at the time of the visit. Some of the routine conditions they treat are: sore throats, cough, sinusitis, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, skin infections, and minor injuries such as sprains, strains and lacerations. They provide general, CDL, sports, employment and school physicals, women's exams, Pap Smears and STD testing. Some conditions that they DO NOT treat are: Workman's Comp injuries, motor vehicle injuries, chronic back pain, pregnancy/prenatal care, infant or toddler care or vaccines for minors. You can learn more at www.PrescottHealthClinic.com.
In the world of transitioning health insurance, people are looking for cost effective alternatives. The Christian organization MediShare offers a medical bill sharing program which is an alternative to traditional health insurance. This is not insurance, but rather a pooling of funds that pays for the medical expenses of its policy holders. As far as the legality of the organization, the Affordable Care Act contains a provision making members of these medical sharing programs exempt from the mandatory insurance requirement. Medishare acts similar to insurance in that medical expenses are submitted for payment and the pool of funds pays the bills. To be included in the program, the participants must sign a Christian statement of faith. The cost of the program is significantly less than traditional insurance. For more information, visit www.MyChristianCare.org.
I am not an insurance or medical expert, but I do enjoy researching ways to save money. If you have more information on the topic of saving on healthcare, I would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kara Rozendaal, a financial planner, wife and homeschool mother of three, has lived in Prescott Valley for 17 years. Kara's website www.PracticalSaver.com helps make shopping simple and savings possible.