Easy ways to cut the cost of your medical bills in half.
health premiums have increased by ninety-seven percent that's no surprise to consumers who see the decrease in their paychecks from employers but there are ways to save up frontal medical expenses on your side consumer advocate Jen Strassmann is here tonight but how to bid on health care it doesn't matter if you have insurance you're uninsured or underinsured there are simple steps you can take to save money without compromising on the quality we shop for deals to restaurants clothing stores and spas so why not shop for health care savings it's different Tom mirror is willing to try new ways to slash his health care bills he saved fifty percent on a routine lab test just by bidding for the test on a slight cold bid on health it's kind of like Priceline for the hotel business like Priceline you name the price for the health test you want in Cleveland and Akron there are over 80 for lab tests you can bid on after your price is accepted you find out the name of the lab I go to a Medical Center and go directly to a very well-known recognized name in the laboratory services business tom was paying thirty dollars on a pocket for the test he now pays just fifteen dollars if the quality of the care or in this case the quality of laboratory work is equal then I don't see any reason why you would not try to find a less expensive alternative in Ohio bid on health only offers lab work it helps to add radiology soon the site is already testing that option in two states such as doctor approved I think that anything that helps people be healthy and have healthy wallets is a good thing dr. Scott Frank is the director for the Master of Public Health Program at case western reserve university school of medicine he says cost is a discussion with more than half his patients well I think it starts from the fact that our health care system is basically broken and the cost of care has gone too high to cut costs shop around for medical care Ohio hospitals list their prices for the top tests and procedures on their website and call different facilities for pricing into it labs and imaging centers charts cheaper fees for example a local hospital charges more than forty four hundred dollars for an MRI of the abdomen an imaging center we checked charges nineteen hundred dollars that's a difference of fifty-five percent offer to pay cash and you might save even more dr. Frank encourages his patients to look for these cheaper options but he says you need to be careful I think the mistake would be if people start to consider themselves their own doctor and aren't working with a health professional to make decisions that are evidence-based some money saving offers don't even require a doctor's prescription we saw a Groupon for three hundred and forty dollars worth of lab tests the cost on the daily deal site just forty nine dollars a Center in turn to see what the company is telling patients $49 our intern got a thyroid liver kidney glucose and cholesterol test vivienne look it's the creatinine which is kidney functions electrolytes suppose that was the only explanation given and the lab didn't want to talk about this offer on camera the results are mailed to the patients dr. Frank said you need to proceed with caution when trying to read the result on your own just because your results are two points above or below the average doesn't mean you have a health problem the amount of anxiety that we see even when you have somebody to help interpret them is very high daily deal sites like groupon and livingsocial are also a good way to save on dental services one dentist told me many people began cutting back on dental visits when the economy did so he began offering cheap exams on daily deal sites on your side Jen strothman newsChannel 5 if you
Nearly 30 percent of Americans don’t take their medicine beause of cost. And more than a quarter of people also skip seeing the doctor. But there is help.
and nearly 30 percent of Americans don't take their medicine because of cost and more than a quarter of people also skip seeing the doctor that only needs that only rather leads to higher cost for patients because they end up getting sicker it also affects all of our premiums but as consumer investigator Danielle Sereno tells us there is help and just to highlight this healthcare crisis you know when people finally do go to the doctor right after they get their tax refunds used to be that's when people put money towards summer vacation or debts now it's medical bills meaning some patients could literally be dying to see the doctor you're constantly playing Russian roulette with your your health and your life Ellen Schwartz has something called pheochromocytoma an extremely rare life-threatening tumor in the adrenal gland which damages the cardiovascular system if it's not removed and in order to get that with insurance coverage I still had about $40,000 outstanding after that and not including the cost of five other surgeries it's why a recent survey by JP Morgan showed that consumers like Ellen increased healthcare spending by 60 percent the week after receiving a tax refund I wait and I wait and I wait and then usually I wind up in the ER because I haven't gotten some treatment or some tests or something caught in time because just the expense is too much that's sort of a sad commentary about our system that people don't have access all year round and a system which ends up costing patients even more leading to another unintended crisis but a lot of people who are forced to pay because they need surgery they need a hospitalization then have no way to pay and end up declaring bankruptcies in fact more than 66 percent of bankruptcies today are tied to medical issues so the very first question for a consumer is to ask have I exhausted my treatment options for whatever condition I have and are there other treatment options short of something like surgery that are invasive and that are generally less expensive bill campaign from health care Blue Book a company that researches fair prices for procedures also suggests shopping around for low-cost providers then there's the art of the deal some doctors will agree to put you on a payment plan and you might be able to pay over a period of months rather than in a big chunk to lessen the risk of Ellen's game of Russian roulette she tries to skip insurance and bargain with her doctors directly money is key and when you don't have it you put off the care and then you get worse and you run the risk of really becoming seriously disabled or heating to say it dying there is another way to help with those medical costs if you are eligible some employers offer health savings accounts where you can allocate money for medical expenses tax-free and that will help you avoid a cash crunch if you have any unexpected bills I put some more resources on our website wkyt.com and some great advice there is always from Daniel Sarina