At work the other day we were notified that our medical insurance rates would be going up another 5% next year. While I was a bit disappointed at the increase, I don't think this is all that bad considering the climate and direction of healthcare costs.
Since healthcare is likely to keep climbing for the foreseeable future, I thought it would be good to get online and see if there are folks out there trying to find solutions and help people save more on their medical bills.
Fortunately, there are.
Below is just a few companies that are trying to turn the tide a little bit and empower patients. It's not easy. Healthcare is a huge profit-machine and it doesn't behoove the top providers to work on solving the problem (much like in education with the rising college debt).
With allergies and asthma an issue in our family, running to the drug store every month is common practice. Being a proponent of exhausting natural means to cure oneself (first) I know that certain drugs have their place.
Prescriptions can be costly. The folks at GoodRx.com are trying to combat this trend by offering an easy-to-use online service that shows you where you can find the cheapest drugs in your area.
Just type in the name of your drug in the search bar and your location and the site will return several results with the best price.
Of course, if you have insurance coverage, GoodRx.com may not be able to offer a better price.
Another website that I came across is for a site called HealthTap.com. They offer free online advice from over 64,000 doctors around the US that are ready to answer your healthcare questions at a moments notice.
According to HealthTap, patients spend about $500 billion each year on patient-doctor visits that are often just educational in purpose (meaning, they are just relaying some information that you could have gotten through a quicker/less-expensive means).
They provide patients with direct access to doctors through video, chat, phone or email with response times from 2 minutes to 24 hours.
Now, they do charge for the quicker response services (that involve video, chat or phone calls) that range from $99/month to $120 for one doctor consultation. Otherwise, you can get a free response via email from a doctor within 24 hours (if the issue isn't urgent).[caption id="attachment_5233" align="aligncenter" width="598"] HealthTap.com pricing structure[/caption]
I guess you'd have to weigh how often you make trips to the doctors office to justify a monthly “on-call” service fee like this. Or, it could be a convenience factor for you too – having the ability to connect with a doctor within minutes.
I do know that doctors office visit fees can add up rather quickly – even if you have just a copay.
If you do have coverage (which most of us should, given the Affordable Healthcare Act), you may want to check into any “health advocate” services that are offered through your employers healthcare plan – for free. These offer what HealthTap.com does – more than likely via phone call vs. chat or video.
Have you heard of any of these websites and/or do you know of others out there that might benefit readers in helping to lower their medical costs?