The rising cost of medical services is a major concern for every Kenyan. However, when you or a loved one gets sick, saving money may not be the first thing on your mind. But there are simple things you can do to reduce the financial burden
1. Compare prices
If you are scheduled for a non-urgent procedure, you may want to research how much it would cost to have it done at different hospitals or outpatient clinics. The savings from shopping around can be significant. However, it’s important to use good judgement about when you need to go for emergency services.
Some situations require immediate attention, and the patient doesn’t have the luxury of choosing where to go or when. When you can, reach out to your doctor for advice. You may want to consider less costly treatment options.
2.Get routine health screening
Skipping your regular check-up can cost you down the road. Some diseases don’t have symptoms at first. However, having regular tests can catch health problems early, when they may be more easily treated. Also get prenatal care if you are pregnant. This is the best way to ensure you and your baby will be healthy.
3. Consider outpatient facilities
If you need a procedure or surgery, ask your provider if you can have it done at an outpatient clinic. Often, getting care as an outpatient is cheaper than having the same procedure while admitted in hospital.
4. Choose in-network health care providers
Depending on your health coverage, you may have the choice to see providers who are in-network or out-of-network. You pay less to see providers who are in-network, because they have a contract with your health plan. This means they charge lower rates.
5. Take advantage of technology
With technology, you can have health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat you online or over the phone. The 24/7 convenience of telemedicine may save you costly trips to urgent care clinics or emergency rooms.
6. Go for generics
Ask your health care provider if you can switch to generic medicines. They have the same active ingredient, but cost less than brand name drugs. But generics aren’t always an option, especially with newer drugs. Such is the case with treatments for psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that causes scaly patches to grow on the skin.
Also, ask your provider if there is a less expensive medicine that treats the same condition.
7. Examine and negotiate your medical bill
Medical bills can be confusing, but it’s important you carefully review any invoices because mistakes happen. Don’t assume your bill is cast on stone. Additionally, the bill can be negotiated down.
8. Take all your medicines as directed
Not taking your medicine or not taking enough medicine may lead to further health problems, hence further complication and cost. Therefore, it is advisable to finish the dose. And if the medicine is not working for you, it is always good to contact your doctor.
9. Chose health plan that is right for you
When choosing a plan, think about your health needs and that of your family. If you pick a plan with higher premiums, more of your health costs will be covered.
This may be a good idea if you have a health problem, such as diabetes, and need regular care. If you rarely need medical care, then you may want to choose a plan with a higher deductible. You will pay lower monthly premiums and likely save money overall.
10. Take care of your health
A simple way to save money on health care is to stay healthy. Of course, that is sometimes easier said than done. But staying at a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, and not smoking lowers your risk for health problems. Staying healthy further helps you avoid costly tests and treatments for ongoing conditions such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease.