With the rising health care costs in our country, many people are looking for ways to save money on their health spending. Rising insurance premiums, high deductibles, specialist visits, and expensive testing all contribute to the obscene amount of money that can be spent on a single, easily treatable injury. Fortunately, there are several simple steps you can take to save money on healthcare.
1. Consider skipping a primary care physician and going straight to a specialist
It might sound strange, but sometimes it makes sense to Skip the Primary Care Physician and Go Straight to a Physical Therapist or other specialist. Traditionally, when someone goes to see a doctor after an acute injury or because of chronic nagging pain, the doctor often orders an expensive X-ray, and/or prescribes costly medications. When these do not provide relief, and they rarely do, the patient is then sent to a specialist for more expensive testing and imaging, before finally being referred to a therapist for their joint or muscle problem. We all know a single MRI can cost thousands of dollars, and every rushed doctor appointment costs hundreds. Even with insurance benefits, the costs add up quickly. This, plus the extended time getting tests done, can delay needed treatment from a therapist for weeks!
More and more people are finding out that seeking care from a physical or occupational therapist before receiving more expensive—and often unnecessary—invasive treatments can be effective and more affordable. Many people ask themselves: ‘who is physical therapy for?’, and we can help answer questions like that in a simple—free—phone consultation.
While inefficient models of traditional healthcare still exist, many people are now taking control of their own health and coming to therapy first, skipping the lengthy and expensive path to our front door. This allows us to work with clients sooner, decreasing the cost of their injury by eliminating unnecessary imaging and testing, and helping them to recover faster.
2. Learn about important laws and rules about healthcare in your state
Many people don’t know that in Montana, you can schedule an appointment with a physical therapist directly, without a referral from a PCP! Because we are a doctoral-level profession, therapists have extensive training in not only what we can treat, but also what needs to be referred on. If there are odd symptoms or other concerning signs during the evaluation, we know the best doctors in the area and can refer you to the right physician immediately, again saving you time and money.
3. Be proactive in taking care of your health
Staying on top of your health is one of the best ways to save money and stay in control of your own healthcare story. Of course, traditional advice still holds: eat healthy, drink water, and get exercise but sometimes it makes sense to reach out to a professional to set you on the right path to make sure you are doing the right types of exercise for your lifestyle. It’s especially important to speak with a personal trainer or physical therapist when you have specific fitness goals in mind—whether it’s walking around the block without losing your breath, getting better at hiking, or participating in a century ride.
4. Keep track of your healthcare calendar
Be sure to keep an eye on the calendar and make sure that you’re timing your healthcare expenses in the best way possible to take advantage of your benefits. If you’ve reached your deductible before the end of the year, think about using your benefits to take care of things you’ve been putting off throughout the year.