Tips can help you keep more money in your pocket as health care bills, deductibles rise

The average American spends about $9,000 on healthcare each year, with a good $1,000 of that for services paid out of pocket. And as healthcare costs and health insurance deductibles keep rising, the consumer is only going to end up paying more for less. The Yakima Herald gave some tips on how Americans can save money on their healthcare expenses.

One of the ways consumers can save money is to use telehealth options. Many insurance plans are starting to cover telehealth—“seeing a doctor” by phone, video chat, or other telecommunication device. According to a study from telemedicine company Avizia and the National Business Group on Health, even though 90 percent of employers offer telehealth as a benefit, only 2 in 10 people have even heard of telehealth and only about 3 percent of employees use it. The average telehealth visit ranges in price from $40 to $50, while an in-person office visit could cost up to $176.

Two other tips the Herald offers include:

  • Know when to go to the emergency room and if you should use an ambulance to get there. The average ER visit costs more than $1,000, and ambulance rides can cost thousands of dollars out of pocket. If it’s a life-and-death situation, then by all means call 911 and go to the hospital via ambulance. However, if your health issue isn’t life-threatening, it’s a better idea to call your doctor’s office or a triage service first. Many insurance plans offer triage services.
  • Check for prescription discounts. Many pharmacies can’t let you know if a medication is available more cheaply if you pay cash rather than using your insurance because of “gag clauses” in some pharmacy contracts. To check the price, ask for an alternative or choose to pay cash. Websites like GoodRx can tell you the cash prices of many drugs. You may also be able to take advantage of discount cards or other coupons.

Read the rest of the Herald’s advice on how you can save on healthcare costs here.