10. Open a Health Savings Account
Consider opening up a health savings account where you can save on medical items which can't be covered in your plan. Any money contributed from yourself or your employer to this account will be tax deductible, all transactions wiil be tax free as well (that includes growth and withdrawal) for as long as the money is used for medical purposes only. You can have a high-deductible plan with as much as $1050 for individuals and $2100 for families to become eligible enough to fund such an account.
11. Government Programs
Go and see if you or your family qualify for public Government-funded programs like the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or Medicaid. Eligibility requirements are going to vary from state to state but many cover families with children and income up to approximately 200-300% of the poverty level.
12. Local Public Health Clinics
Go to a public health clinic for flu shots and things of that nature. The vaccinations, and services that you will receive here will be much cheaper than what your doctor's office will charge.
13. Tax Deductions for Medical Expenses
The IRS will let you deduct any medical bills that exceed 7.5% of your gross income. You need to keep track of your receipts and reimbursements in order to determine this. This can range from eyeglasses, healthcare services, and so on.
14. Free Tests
Check for public health fairs or any free health clinics that offer screenings. At these places, you will be able to check your blood pressure, cholesterol, mammograms, eye exam, glucose, and much more. Don't replace it with your annual physical exam but putting these services to good use will give you an idea of your current health status and alert you of anything that requires further medical screening.
15. Avoid Emergency Rooms Whenever Possible
Emergency rooms are simply for serious emergencies. That means if you have the flu, a headache, earache, or anything of similar nature that will most likely disappear within a couple days, don't bother going. Emergency rooms are rip-offs and avoiding them whenever possible will save you additional medical bills... that is, unless your symptoms are extremely severe or you have the plague.
16. Paying Cash
Paying in cash is a good to get a discount on your medical bills. The reason for this being is that many of these doctors' offices don't have much cash to begin with (mind you, their office and their personal yearly income are two totally different things), so with you paying in cash means that they don't have to file insurance claims nor pay credit card fees.
17. Stay Within Your Network Whenever Possible
With Preferred Provider Option (PPO) health insurance, the majority of your medical bills will be paid (with the exception of the co-payments, of course) as long as you use a hospital, clinic, or doctor that is within the company's preferred provider network. Going outside of this network will cause you to pay a lot more. If you must go outside your company's network, be sure to call your company's pre-certification department first, explain the situation, and inquire about in-network coverage rates.
18. Always Stay Insured
If you plan on switching jobs next year, make sure you switch to the lowest-cost health plan available during the present year's open enrollment so that way, federal policies like COBRA will allow you to stay apart of your job's healthcare plan for about 18 months.
19. Join Your Spouse's Insurance
It's true, you can save lots of money by joining your spouse's health plan. But be sure to familiarize yourself with the coverage and options first. Another thing to be aware of is that many plans out there will only permit you to add a spouse under a specific time frame after getting married.
20. Become Best Friends With Your Doctor
This probably won't apply to many people and it may be the most complicated out of this list but there's some out there whom I'm sure knows someone they went to school with and now, years later, that person is a doctor. Well, depending on how close you are, see if you can connect enough to get you a lower bill. Call it a friendship rate if you will.