It seems like every American has felt the sting of exorbitantly expensive medical bills at one time or another. In fact, the fear of such bills often prevents us from seeking medical care, even at times when it’s desperately needed.

Fortunately, bringing down your medical costs may be easier than you think. Unbeknownst to many healthcare seekers, there are a number of simple and effective steps that can reduce medical costs in a timely manner, making it easier to get the care you need when you need it.

Prioritize Preventative Care 

It’s easy to see why so many Americans fail to prioritize preventative care. Given how expensive going to the doctor can be, a fair number of us wait until certain problems have become utterly impossible to ignore before proceeding to seek treatment.

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While wanting to exercise frugality is perfectly understandable, this approach to healthcare may ultimately result in even higher costs down the line.

With this in mind, make a point of staying current with physicals and vaccinations and seeking treatment for problems before they have a chance to get out of hand. In addition to being easier on your finances, preventative care can play a vital role in treating small problems before they’re able to become more serious.

Additionally, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, a number of preventative care-based services and procedures are free with many insurance plans – provided, of course, they’re performed in network. So, if you’ve regarded preventative care as an afterthought in the past, now would be a good time to rethink this. 

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Seek Treatment From Providers Who Offer Financial Aid Services 

A large number of healthcare seekers don’t know that many providers offer convenient financial services for uninsured and underinsured patients. The main reason for this is that providers don’t often advertise such programs, meaning that it’s up to patients to actively inquire about them. 

Although the services offered vary from provider to provider, many of them stand to save you a handsome sum. For example, some providers will automatically deduct a certain percentage from your bill if you don’t have insurance, while others will forgive certain bills entirely.

Marylanders looking to receive treatment from the best doctors in Annapolis, MD should seek out facilities that offer financial aid services.   

Inquire About Prompt Payment Discounts 

If you’re uninsured or underinsured, you stand to benefit from asking healthcare providers about prompt payment discounts. Per the name, prompt payment discounts refer to discounts given in exchange for expedient payment of medical bills.

So, the next time you receive a bill from a provider, inform them of your insurance situation and ask how much of the debt they’d be willing to forgive if you were to promptly take care of the bill. 

In some cases, simply informing a provider that you lack sufficient insurance will entitle you to a sizable discount. By taking the time to make a few basic inquiries, you may be able to get a considerable sum deducted from your next medical bill. 

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Apply For Medicaid  

If you suffer from a disability, are unable to work, can’t afford insurance or are 65 years or older, you may qualify for Medicaid. In case you’re unfamiliar, Medicaid is the United States’ public health insurance program for low-income individuals.

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Medicaid covers an extensive range of doctor visits, specialized procedures and medication costs, making it a boon to people who are unable to afford insurance.  

Since Medicaid qualifications vary from state to state, it’s important to study up on your state’s criteria before proceeding to apply. For example, whereas some states require Medicaid recipients to meet a minimum work requirement, others have no such requirement.

Additionally, applying for Medicaid is often fairly easy and can be done through your state’s Medicaid website. If you don’t have access to a computer or other Internet-capable devices, call your state’s Medicaid help line or get in touch with your local welfare office.  

There’s no denying that medical costs in the United States are out of control. As one of the few industrialized countries with a for-profit healthcare system, the U.S. has countless citizens who are plagued by medical debt and hesitant to seek essential healthcare services for fear of going further into debt.

However, instead of denying yourself the care that you need, you’d be better-served by putting the advice outlined above to practical use.