Ask the Right Questions and Save Money on Health Care Costs

Ask the Right Questions and Save Money on Health Care Costs

Oct 11 2014

Don’t be shy about asking questions in front of your doctor. It’s your health and your health care dollars you’re spending – make sure you’re comfortable with the outcome.

When you have car trouble, you ask for an explanation of the problem and an estimate for the repairs. And when you’re shopping for a new car, you compare features and ratings before writing a check.

Why not do the same for your health care? By doing a little research and asking the right questions, you can impact the quality of your care and your health care costs.

Good questions for your healthPriority Health Transparency Health Care Costs Asking the Right Questions2

You have options and choices. So if your doctor recommends a test, a treatment or a prescription, ask questions. Here are a few questions recommended by the National Patient Safety Foundation:

  • What is my main health concern?
  • What can I do to improve my health?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Why is it important for me to do this? (And what will happen if I don’t?)

Good questions for your wallet

Health care costs are a well-kept secret. Most people don’t know the cost of treatment until they see a statement from their doctor, hospital or insurance company. That can be too late — especially for those who have to meet a high deductible.

You should be empowered to ask:Priority Health Transparency Health Care Costs Asking the Right Questions2

  • What will this cost?
  • Can I save money by going to a different lab or hospital?
  • What is the quality rating of that hospital or facility?
  • How do patients rate this doctor or facility?

There are a growing number of health insurance companies and hospitals providing this information. For example, Priority Health members can log in to their account to see Priority Health-specific price ranges for more than 300 tests and procedures using the Healthcare Bluebook.

The cost savings from shopping around for your services can be substantial. For example:

  • Surgery on your knee could cost between $1,400 and $11,000
  • Kidney stone treatments range in cost from $2,000 to $14,000
  • A colonoscopy could cost as little as $375 or more than $2,000

Of course, no one wants “bargain” health care if it means sacrificing quality. That’s why Priority Health also provides links to quality information and patient reviews.

Good questions about your health insurance coverage

When you are selecting a new insurance plan either through your employer or purchasing it individually, be a savvy shopper and keep these questions in mind:

  • What is the total cost of this health plan? Will I have a lot of out-of-pocket costs?
  • Does this insurance company provide cost and quality information?
  • Is my doctor and hospital part of this plan? Or will I be forced to change or pay more for out-of-network services?

Asking a few good questions can maximize your health and minimize your health care costs.