Jean Chatzky
What's one thing that everyone, no matter what age, can relate to? Healthcare. We all need it at one time or another, and we all struggle to both afford it and understand it. Jean talks with Michelle Katz, a nurse and author of Healthcare for Less. While a graduate student, Michelle decided to cut costs by eliminating her health insurance—an unwise choice, given that a few months later, she was involved in a car accident and sustained injuries that required surgery. These events forced her to do a great deal of research about the healthcare industry.

Michelle shares her tips for reducing healthcare costs while still getting the coverage you need:
  • If you are in a car accident, check your car insurance policy—often it includes a medical component. If you were not at fault, check the other driver's policy.
  • Talk to your physician. Two-thirds of people don't talk to their doctors about their situation. Doctors are willing to negotiate with you, especially if you are paying them without involving an insurance company, which actually saves them money.
  • If you are getting a procedure in a hospital, you can price the stay much like you would at a hotel. Ask the rate per day, what is included in the nightly stay, and if it is cheaper if you schedule your procedure during a weekday rather than a weekend.
  • Take advantage of open enrollment if you have health insurance. It only comes around once a year, and you'll have the opportunity to shop around for different plans. If your life has changed in the past year, perhaps with the addition of children, this is especially important.
  • Look at each insurance company's quality rating. Every state has an insurance commissioner and going to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' website will allow you to see the ratings for each company.
  • Maintain preventative measures based on your health and family background. Yearly mammograms or prostate exams should be on your list, as well as blood tests and general physicals.
  • Shop around for prescription drugs. Prices often vary between pharmacies, and often you can get an even better deal by visiting wholesale club stores.