There are so many insurance companies, doctors and brokers out there, how do you know which is best for you? And perhaps more importantly, after you've chosen an insurer or doctor, how do keep from shelling out a ton of cash to get the treatments you need? Jean talks with Michelle Katz, a healthcare consultant and author of Healthcare for Less
and 101 Health Insurance Tips
. Michelle shares tips on how to find the right healthcare:
- Make a list of the top five things that are important to you in a health plan. Maybe it's a particular doctor, clinic or hospital that you want to be in-network. Or you might put a great deal of weight on low premiums. Whatever it is, know what you want before you start shopping around.
- Keep in mind that hospitals don't take all kinds of insurance, despite the popular belief that they do. Make sure you're covered before you enter a hospital, so you're not surprised with a big bill at the end.
- Take advantage of the "free-look period." Many health plans are required to offer you an opportunity to try out their services for a week, 30 days or even six weeks. If you're not satisfied, cancel within that time frame and get your money back.
- Consider a health savings account, which is basically a high-deductible plan that goes with a savings account—you deposit money in the savings account and you can use it toward healthcare. If you don't see the doctor very often and are generally pretty healthy, this might be a good option for you. The good news is that the money adds up with interest, tax-deferred—and if you don't have to use it, the money is yours. When you turn 65, you can use the money for anything you want, not just healthcare.
- Ask your doctor to write your prescription for 90 days instead of 30. You'll pay the same co-pay for the increased amount, but you'll only pay four times a year instead of 12.
- Negotiate with your doctor. It is completely fine to ask for a discount, but be considerate and ask up front. Explain your situation—more often than not, they are happy to work with you, especially if you're paying cash.
The information provided here is general advice and you should always consult your own financial adviser before making major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio. The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.