Posted: 6 December 2017
Here’s a budget-buster for you: The average US household spent $4600 on healthcare last year. That’s a tough pill to swallow, so any chance to save is welcome.
When you’re looking for healthcare savings, look at each expense separately. Look into your health insurance options.
Compare prices for each provider you use. Ask about generic medications.
Don’t forget the expense we’re checking out today: Medical equipment and supplies.
No matter what your income level, these tips can help you manage that cost.
Tip #1: Take Advantage of Existing Benefits
Many Americans already have resources for savings that they aren’t using.
If you have health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, delve into the details. Find out what coverage they offer for medical equipment and supplies (if any). Learn the requirements for a covered purchase.
They may need documents from your doctor or test results. If possible, find out what you need before you buy the equipment.
Health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are common and underused. They’re often offered by employers to add to (or instead of) health insurance.
If you have an HSA or an FSA, you can deposit money from each paycheck pre-tax. You can use this money for healthcare costs that insurance doesn’t cover. And yes, that includes medical equipment and supplies.
The difference between the two options is that an FSA must be used by the end of the year. You can continue to build your HSA year after year, even after you retire.
Tip #2: Ask Your Doctor
Doctors are often overlooked as a resource for this question. They understand the expense and they want their patients to get what they need.
Your doctor may have advice about the best medical supply stores for patients on a budget.
Tip #3: Compare Prices Online
Online shopping is a great way to find the best price. Some sites, like Save Rite Medical, specialize in cost-effective options.
Make sure to consider quality, though. Before jumping to the cheapest option, read reviews. You can even ask your doctor if a specific brand is reputable.
Some low-cost sites can be slow in shipping, too. Find out the expected arrival date so you have your medical needs met on time.
Tip #4: Consider Used Medical Equipment and Supplies
One of the fastest ways to get extreme savings is to explore used options. A few caveats for your safety, though:
- Check for any recalls on the product
- Make sure the item is in good, safe condition
- If possible, have the item inspected by a professional
- Get the item from a trusted source, like a specialty store or someone you know
Tip #5: Use Charitable Resources
Never be afraid to ask for help if there is something you or your family needs. Even the most financially stable people can struggle with medical expenses. That’s why there are so many organizations available to help.
Some states have their own assistance programs. They can help you with the costs or find low-cost medical equipment.
There are also many charitable organizations with the same purpose. Some are specific to certain medical conditions.
Others are specific to the area where you live. Regardless, it’s worth your time to search the web for resources.
A Final Note for Patients on a Budget
We’d all like to say that money is no object when it comes to health. But in truth, money is always a consideration.
In most cases, there is a way to get what you need without serious and long-lasting strain. You just need to know where to look.
For more cost-saving tips on healthcare and other topics, check out our savings blog.