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11 Ways To Save Money On Medical Bills

11 Ways To Save Money On Medical Bills

CNBC reports that nearly 2 million Americans file bankruptcy annually as a result of unpaid medical bills. It’s not just the uninsured that are suffering. Nearly 10 million Americans with health insurance are still struggling to pay off their medical bills due to high-deductible insurance plans. Here are a few tips to help you save money on your medical bills.

1. Choose an in-network provider

If you have a PPO insurance plan, pick a doctor within your network for the biggest savings. Your cost will be significantly higher if you visit a doctor outside of your network. Most insurance plans will let you browse their list of in-network physicians online. Make a list of doctors you would like to visit ahead of time.

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2. Write down your symptoms & questions

Jot down your symptoms and questions ahead of time on a piece of paper or on your smartphone. This will ensure that all your concerns will be addressed during the visit and help you get the most out of your time. It can also prevent future visits.

3. Join a medical trial

If you have a chronic illness, find out if there are any local clinical trials that you can partake in. Joining a trial may give you access to the latest medications and significantly lower your prescription and medical bills.

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4. Comparison shop

Many health insurance plans pay a percentage of your medical fees but that doesn’t mean that all doctor’s offices will charge the same fee for a particular procedure. It’s perfectly fine to shop around and call various offices in order to find out how much they charge.

5. Partake in free screenings

Most insurance plans include annual free exams and numerous preventative screenings. Participating in these tests can help catch serious problems before they progress and save you money in the long run. Some pharmacies, such as Walgreens, also offer free health screenings including a cholesterol and diabetes assessment.

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6. Call in for recurring issues

If you have a minor recurring issue like allergies or a pink eye, call the doctor’s office for a phone consultation instead of stopping by. You can also reorder a prescription without having to visit the office.

7. Perform tests for yourself

If you have a chronic condition such as high blood pressure or are diabetic, invest in a high blood pressure monitor or glucometer. This will enable you to monitor some of your own symptoms and take a proactive stance towards your own health care.

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8. Opt for generic medications

Most generic medications are just as effective as their more expensive brand-name counterparts. Ask for the generic version if it’s available. Providence reports that patients are more likely to use generic drugs on a regular basis while brand name medications are more likely to be left untouched.

9. Research online

WebMD allows you to narrow down your symptoms and learn more about your current illnesses (if any). Gaining knowledge about your health condition will give you more insight when dealing with your doctor. DoctorSpring lets you ask a doctor questions online about your symptoms and even upload photos of your condition. This can be helpful if you have a medical question that’s not an emergency.

10. Ask for a discount

If you need a procedure performed that’s not covered by health insurance, ask your doctor for a discount. You’ll have a better chance of success if you ask your doctor instead of the office manager, who is more likely to decline. Forget about asking for a discount on your co-pay; you’re obligated to pay the full amount legally.

11. Ask for free samples

If your doctor prescribes a pricey brand name medication that you’ve never used before, ask for a free sample. Doctor’s often receive free samples from various prescription brands. You may end up with a supply that will last you a few weeks if not a month.

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Jacqueline Cao

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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