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Six Ways to Slash Your Health Costs
Date:12/17/2009

ties that cater to cash-paying patients willing to travel to a neighboring town or state to save money.

If your deductible is high or you're uninsured, consider traveling to another country where the cost of performing surgery can be a fraction of the cost of same procedure in the U.S.

Experts identify India, Singapore and Thailand as the best values, but countries such as Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica have partner relationships with a variety of American hospitals, and provide high quality health care for as much as one-half to two-thirds less the cost of the same procedures in the U.S.

Compare your insurance options: Check your insurance plan; the end of December marks the end of open enrollment at many companies. For those insured through an employer, review your health plan choices. A Health Savings Account (HSA) might save you money over a PPO or HMO, especially with employer contributions. I have saved more than $12,000 during the past five years by taking advantage of my HSA. If on a non-group plan, shop around and consider raising your deductible to reduce your monthly premium and still maintain major medical and catastrophic coverage.

Become an empowered patient: Do your homework and search reputable websites for information that can help you ask more informed questions and possibly prevent an unnecessary office visit. There are growing numbers of educational websites dedicated to information on specific medical conditions. Many are university-, hospital- or association-based. You can learn to help manage chronic conditions, such as asthma, allergies or diabetes. Participating in the daily treatment of your illness can help minimize costly and dangerous complications.

If patients learn to ask more questions, do their homework and take an active role in taking better care of themselves, the payoff can result in both medical and financial benefits for the coming year.

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SOURCE National Center for Policy Analysis
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