Ask your doctor for guidance

Now that you have mastered four of the Ten Free Tips to Spend Less on Healthcare, you are ready to incorporate another common sense tactic…ask your doctor or pharmacist for input!

That’s right, step five is as simple as the first four tips – simply ask your doctor for input on saving money when it comes to generic medications, the need for procedures and which provider or facility is the most price friendly when it comes to needing imaging, lab work or a procedure.  

Go to Ten Free Tips to Spend Less on Healthcare for an immediate download and start saving today. And don’t forget to take three minutes to complete the Personal Spending Reduction Tool online at SpendLessOnHealthcare.com to see if you qualify for our $5,000 annual savings guarantee.

How many of you have ever asked a doctor or pharmacists if there is a generic option for the prescribed medication? Most of us probably have. What follows is usually a swift “yes,” “no” or a reason as to why the generic would not be a suitable alternative. Regardless of which of the three options your doctor responds with, it is important for he or she to know that you are engaging in the healthcare process and asking questions.

And just as I described in Tip #4, in the current healthcare climate doctors are very competitive and want to keep all patients in their practice and they are more than likely to be very responsive to you. When it comes time for you to get an MRI for example, there are at least two obvious questions that need to be asked:

1). Are there any alternatives to this procedure that expose me to a lower level of radiation? 

2). What are the rates of each of the various providers for this procedure?

In regard to #1 above, in recent years I developed a bump on my forehead and my wife asked that I get it checked. So I inquired with several physicians and a specialist. All said it was nothing to worry about, likely a lipoma, but one doctor suggested an MRI. When I inquired with the specialist about his thoughts on an MRI he said absolutely not, its unnecessary and you would be exposing yourself and your head to a lot of unnecessary radiation. He assured me it was nothing to worry about and that the procedure as a whole was unnecessary.

Just as importantly, in regard to #2 above, many doctors are part of a medical group that is contracted and financially incentivized to send all imaging (MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, etc.) to a specific high-priced provider, or a health system owned medical group that requires the imaging referrals be sent to the hospital which is much more expensive than outpatient providers in most cases. When this is the case it is almost a certainty that the doctor will not refer you elsewhere unless you ask, compare and request the lowest price provider. The doctor usually will know the difference in prices without having to research, but will often make up some excuse as to why they prefer sending you to a higher priced provider – usually referencing quality and reliability and often “that’s my primary facility as I am there everyday.” If the doctor insists on the more expensive facility then refer back to Tip #4 and ask if he or she will request a discount from that facility on your behalf as otherwise you prefer being referred to a lower cost provider. 

One of the benefits of a Direct Primary Care provider (see Bonus Tips or either Health-Wealth book) is that they see it as part of their job to eliminate unnecessary tests and contract with labs and imaging facilities at low, preferred provider rates to offer their members. I am a member of a Direct Primary Care practice and have benefited from these preferred rates my doctor offers me on several occasions. 

Your doctor is very knowledgeable on the healthcare industry. Involve he or she in your decision-making process, and rely on their expertise but don’t be afraid to ask for alternatives as well, as we already identified they often refer you first to the most expensive provider.  They can help you determine necessity, options, alternatives and also help you shop and compare facilities as well as specialists and other providers. Your doctor is one of the most educated weapons you have in your process of becoming an EHC – an Engaged Healthcare Consumer. Utilize the weapon by simply asking them to help guide you!

Now you are half way through the list of the Ten Free Tips to Spend Less on Healthcare. If you still don’t have the entire list of ten tips, text “JOSH” to 72000 for an immediate download and start saving today. And don’t forget to take three minutes to complete the Personal Spending Reduction Tool online at SpendLessOnHealthcare.com to see if you qualify for our $5,000 annual savings guarantee.

To review: Shop for drugs, convert to a cost sharing plan, ask about cash rates, negotiate and ask your doctor to help guide you through the process on your journey to become and EHC – an Engaged Healthcare Consumer.