Rising healthcare costs are putting a big burden on Americans. Though prescription drug prices are catching a lot of the blame for the increase in healthcare costs, prices for other healthcare services, such as lab work, are also to blame.
In this clip from The Motley Fool's Industry Focus: Healthcare podcast, analyst Kristine Harjes and contributor Todd Campbell discuss how Americans can stretch their healthcare dollars further.
A full transcript follows the video.
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This podcast was recorded on Sept. 28, 2016.
Kristine Harjes: The next topic I thought we should bring up is preventative care. There are so many free screenings and vaccines andthings that you can get through your health plan or workthat are so important toward saving you money in the long run.
Todd Campbell:Have you gotten your flu shot yet, Kristine?
Harjes:I amscheduled to get one in a few weeks.
Campbell:Yeah. You can walk right in to your primary care, or a pharmacy, I go toRite Aid,I sit there for five minutes, they come over and give me the shot, and it doesn't cost me a dime. For me,that keeps me healthy and I'm able to work more. The other part of this is thatyou don't want to miss days of work because you're not feeling well. So you have preventative care, you can go to your primary care physician and get a checkup every year, you have these different options. One thing I just did recently thatI didn't even know about until I asked my doctorwas that the local hospital in my area provides, one day per week, a very big discount on gettingultrasounds for your carotid arteries.I have carotid artery disease in my family history,and I was able to go in and get thousands of dollars' worth of testing for $75. So, it does help to talk very openly and honestly with yourprimary care physician and just ask different questions, "What kind of options are out there that could save me money?"
Harjes:Another thing to look into is your workplace wellness. Forty percent of large employers offer some sort of discount for participating in a workplace wellness program. Andit makes sense from the employer's standpoint. Apparently every $1 of workplace wellness program cost saves approximately $3.27 on medical costs. So, it's quite likely that you can get money back through your employer, or you can find things -- I'm actually getting my flu shot through The Motley Fool's annual Wellness Fair. It's a good thing to look into that sort of benefit, and see what's available to you.
Campbell:Larger employerswill oftentimes dothese kinds of things. It's important to make sureyou're checking your human resource newsletterto find out what kind of things are available to youand making the most of them. I also don't want to forget,if an emergency strikes that is not a life-threatening emergency,there are more and more options popping up in local communitiesrather than the emergency room. We have urgent-care centersall over our area, for example. My son actually justfell off his bike and needed some care, and we were able to go in, and in less than an hour and with a $60 co-pay, and make sure he didn't have any broken bones.
Harjes:Andthat would be way cheaper than the hospital, I'm assuming.
Harjes:Another thing along that vein is tomake sure you know which hospitals are in network in case you needto go to a hospital. It's good to have done that research beforehand.
Campbell:It gets so confusing. We're going to talk about insurance, and we're moving that way already. There'sso many different moving pieces. Having a little bit of education ahead of timecan be very helpful, not only for those emergency situations, but even things like lab work,there could be very drastic difference isin terms of how much you're going to have to pay out of pocketdepending on whether or not your insurer has a preferred lab that they'd rather you use, and you end up using something else.
Kristine Harjes has no position in any stocks mentioned. Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.