Most Americans comparison shop for cars, auto insurance, houses and even everyday commodities. We live in an online Amazon society where scoring the best deal is second nature, and easy to do. But do those same individuals comparison shop their health care needs? Most likely not.
A recent study found that when select members with Aetna insurance coverage were offered a health care price comparison tool, only 3% of the members used the tool to comparison shop medical services. Considering millions of people have a high deductible health plan with no supplemental insurance to help pay for expected medical bills, most health care is paid out-of-pocket.
Dr. April Seifert, data analytics expert for HealthValues, has put together an easy-to-follow consumer guide that demonstrates how individuals and families can save up to $22,000 a year when they comparison shop health care services, utilize discount savings programs and invest in supplemental health insurance. Your Consumer Mindset is Your Biggest Weapon in the War on Rising Health Care Costs takes readers through eight different real-life scenarios where one family uses their shopping know-how to get the best rates on health insurance and save on out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Health care comparison shopping begins with health insurance. Seifert points out that while it is easy to gravitate toward the cheapest plan or auto-enroll in the same plan year after year, not actively price shopping health insurance can cost an individual more than $700 a year of missed savings. Sticking with a high deductible health plan after receiving a major diagnosis, like diabetes, can leave $3,600 a year on the table if a consumer decides to forgo purchasing a lower deductible health plan that pays more medical expenses.
Using common health care needs and services, Seifert outlines the savings potential when adding a health savings account, using free preventive care, planning for elective surgeries after a medical deductible is met, using transparency tools to get affordable care, using telemedicine services instead of urgent care, enrolling in drug company programs for speciality medications, and filling health insurance deductible gaps with supplemental insurance coverage.
Seifert points out that some savings come from actually using health insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act require insurance companies to pay for preventive services at 100%, so annual wellness exams, colonoscopies, and mammograms are covered. For two adults, that can equal more than $3,000 in free medical coverage.
Carefully planning elective services to get the most out of a health plan is another tactic that requires some planning, but can reap ultimate savings. If a family has nearly met their medical deductible for the year, getting elective surgery completed or having a baby during the same year can save thousands of hospital costs that would normally be an out-of-pocket responsibility.
Over time, compounded by interest, one year of $22,000 in health care savings can result in more than $40,000 in savings by year 10. That can pay for much of a child’s college tuition, put a downpayment on a house or go into retirement savings. Smart comparison health care shopping does take time, but the end rewards are fiscally beneficial.
Learn how you can save thousands! Download Your Consumer Mindset is Your Biggest Weapon in the War on Rising Health Care Costs.