5 ways to cut health care costs in 2019

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FEATURE — It’s time to make resolutions for a healthier you in 2019, and I’d like to help you do so in a way that doesn’t come with a hefty price tag.

Consider these five ways to save money on your health care in 2019.

1. Stay out of the ER for nonemergencies.

The emergency room is great for real emergencies, but for stuff that needs follow-up and extra testing, find a good doctor that will offer you access to a broad spectrum of care options. It will save you a ton of out-of-pocket costs.

2. Always ask for generic medication.

Ask your doctor if there is a generic or a similar but less expensive medication when you are prescribed one. There almost always are.

Be hesitant to take samples of a very expensive medication — because that’s what gets refilled. Generics are much cheaper and just as good in the vast majority of cases. Also, don’t be afraid to look into websites like GOODRX.com. These offer a resource for finding local, inexpensive prescription medication, which could save you a fortune.

3. You seldom need a big slew of labs every year.

Don’t run every knee-jerk test that has been run yearly for the last 50 years. It’s a waste of your money and time. More testing is not better care when it is done “just to be sure.”

Some tests you should be up-to-date on are mammograms, colon cancer screening and Paps. If you are low-risk for heart disease, you don’t need labs every year.

4. Your primary care doctor can take care of most of your health care needs.

Find a good primary care doctor that can take care of your moles, your reflux, your hypertension and your birth control all together. The alternative is seeing a bunch of different doctors, and that is more expensive.

Your best bet is finding a good doctor who listens to you, doesn’t rush you, has the skill to take care of most or all of your needs and is available when you need them without waiting a month to get in. These kinds of doctors do exist. Just find someone you are comfortable with. A one-stop-shop for health care needs will help save you money and headaches for years to come.

5. Avoid products claiming to boost metabolism or give you energy.

Don’t waste money on creams, potions, oils, drinks or any other product not approved by the FDA that claim to give you energy, boost metabolism, burn off fat, et cetera.

So many people waste money on vitamin tablets, vitamin B-12 shots and other products often proven to be no better than placebo. Don’t waste your money.

Read more: From A to zinc, 9 things you need to know about vitamins and supplements

If something seems too good to be true, do good diligence first and study it. Don’t read about such products from the person or company selling them. Read from university- or government-based studies.


Besides these five cost-cutting measures, I always suggest basic ways that can help anyone save money. Eat sensibly. Don’t smoke. Use alcohol in moderation. Exercise. Lose weight. These steps have been proven over and over to decrease depression and anxiety, improve sleep, prevent disease and increase self-confidence and performance.

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3 Comments

  • Snarkles December 31, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    There are other ways to save too… you can get a super-chemistry blood test that checks your complete blood counts, a comprehensive panel for liver and kidney function etc, and a lipid panel ALL for about $60 from places like online Healthcheck USA and you go to a regular nearby lab with your lab order you print off and get the result online within a day. It is a great way to catch problems before they turn into a big health crisis. They offer all sorts of other lab testing too at dramatically cheaper prices that going to the doctor or hospital. If you are lower income, the St. George volunteer clinic can offer low cost vouchers for MRI’s and other tests and all they ask is a donation of about $10 for an office visit… if you can afford it. Private imaging companies and medical groups cost much less for xrays, MRI’s and CT’s than the hospital. And if you need information, the Mayo clinic online is top notch and surprisingly will offer proven natural and practical solutions when applicable.

  • utahdiablo January 1, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Just went to Vegas for a sick friend….the Emergency Ward there looked like a Third World country with all the countless people sitting in the waiting area, hallways, and outside the ICU rooms….why?..because they cannot turn away anyone who cannot pay from a ER…be thankful for what we have here in St George while we still do

    • Redbud January 1, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      Another reason we need to build the wall!

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