Well, Monday’s minor surgery ended up being a bit more major than I had planned, but I’m home now and recovering. The extra stay at the hospital gave me time think about how I try to save on my medical expenses.
Whenever possible, I try to read up on my symptoms and conditions. I do not self-diagnose… I simple want to have an idea of questions I should ask and possible treatments. I do my best to squeeze every ounce of information out of my doctors. Smart Money magazine recently reported that the average visit with your general practitioner is about 12 minutes. I make sure that whenever I go to the doctor (or the kids do) that I come with a written list of questions. That way I can be sure my doctor doesn’t rush me and I can make the most of my co-pay. My kids and I have the same doctor, so I’m able to ask questions about all of us during any single visit.
My ob/gyn has been helpful enough to call and talk with me via phone on certain questions that I’ve had, which saved me a ton of money on co-pays (and the hassle of finding baby sitters). Both my GP and the ob/gyn are also good about finding me free samples of medications that I’ve needed and my pharmacy always substitutes generics for the name brand pills whenever possible. I have also had my doctor prescribe a higher dose than I need, and then I split the pills to make them go further. (You can’t do this with all meds, but some you can).
The best prescription for saving money on medical costs is to simply to take care of yourself by eating well and exercising…. not always the easiest thing for me, but I do what I can.
On a side note: I really appreciate living in a small community where you know many people on a first-name basis. The quality of my medical care has been superb – far better than I’ve received in larger cities.