When it comes to healthcare costs, it’s easy for the bills to pile up quickly. While patients can cut costs by purchasing an effective insurance plan, avoiding the emergency room with urgent care clinics, and asking for generic as opposed to name brand medications, there many be even better cost-cutting solution: your primary care doctor.
Studies have shown that a “fee-for-service” structure of care means that doctors get paid for ordering more tests and writing more prescriptions. This “overuse of medicine” drives health care costs to extreme heights. To help avoid unnecessary and wasteful procedures, take these three money-saving tips to heart:
- Know your medical history.
Get your old medical records and having them reviewed by a primary care doctor; it might save you from having an unnecessary test or procedure performed when the time comes. You should also always have a primary care doctor review your medical record, especially if you move or switch insurance plans.
- Let your doctor know your concerns.
Be up front about your cost concerns. Your primary care physician is your partner in care, and he or she will work with you to help make the most affordable and effective decisions about your health.
- Ask questions.
Patients are not medical experts, but that doesn’t mean that you should be powerless in the physician’s office. If you have concerns about a test or procedure that has been recommended, ask about the need. If you’re visiting a specialist or having a procedure done in the hospital, another doctor’s opinion and insight can be very important to assuage feelings of uncertainty. Don’t hesitate to call your primary care physician with questions or concerns; after all, they should know you best!
Primary care physicians are a great and under-utilized source for cutting health care costs and concerns. Make sure you take advantage of your doctor by scheduling (and attending!) a yearly appointment and regularly scheduling your screenings (mammograms, colonoscopies, cholesterol levels, etc).
Source: “Doctors can help patients make informed decisions and prevent overtreatment.” KevinMD.com