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University of Massachusetts Amherst

Family Business Center

Be a Smart Health Care Consumer

Tips on reducing your health care spending from Health New England, a corporate partner of the UMass Family Business Center

Want to Save Money on Health Care Costs?

Who doesn’t want to save money? But how can I save money on my health care? Aren’t my insurance premium and what I pay for doctor’s visits and prescriptions fixed? While that may be true, as a health care consumer, there is a lot you can do outside of these fixed costs to save money. Most insurers do a lot more than just pay your bills if you get sick. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your health care budget.

Stay Healthy: It’s all about how you treat your body and your mind.

  • Eat nutritious foods
  • Exercise at least three times a week
  • Learn to manage stress
  • Use alcohol only in moderation
  • Do not use tobacco products or illegal drugs

Heard all of this before? That’s because it works! Saving money on your health starts with you.

Know Your Primary Care Doctor: Get regular physical exams. That way:

  • You and your doctor stay informed about your health.
  • If a health issue arises, your doctor can catch it early.
  • You are less likely to need emergency medical care.

Studies have shown that people who have regular appointments with their PCP use the emergency room less often. And many plans cover routine care 100% - no copay! That can save the average family as much as $150 per year.

When You Need a Prescription, Request Generic. Generic versions of medications:

  • Have the same active ingredients as the brand version. (Sometimes, they are even made by the same drug company.)
  • •Are just as effective.
  • Cost far less.

You don't give up anything in your treatment – and you save money!

Know What Your Policy Covers: After we choose our plan, most of us don't look at our policy again until we need medical care. This can cause unpleasant surprises, like bills that you didn’t expect. Here’s an example:

You sprained your ankle playing basketball. It was the weekend, and you figured your doctor’s office was closed. You went to the emergency room. Your plan covers emergency care, but after your visit you got a bill in the mail for $100. Your plan paid for most of the visit, but the $100 is the copay that you have to pay the hospital. If you had called your doctor, a doctor from the office provides on-call coverage – 24/7. The covering doctor may have offered home care advice to get through the weekend. Then, you could be seen in the office. The doctor also may have referred you to an urgent care center. Your copayment for an office visit (doctor’s office or urgent care center) is $25. Just by knowing what your plan covers, you could have saved $75!

Find Out What Other Resources Your Plan Offers: Many plans offer discounts for certain services. Plans also may reimburse you for your efforts to stay healthy.

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