How to reduce personal healthcare cost

As a doctor I find it really frustrating when some patients keep complaining about staggering health cost when they do not at all, mind their own excessive “unhealthy” living. The fact that health care cost nowadays is expensive, is old story to most us. But we keep on throwing the gripes at our similarly unsympathetic government without even taking a hard look at our own lifestyle. At the rate health care is deteriorating, we might just see another health care ‘titanic” before our government nudge.

There are ways however, that people can do to reduce their health care cost in the long run. Yes, take the matters into your hand and save your lashing at our government’s inefficient health care system. Believe me, whining at a inattentive ear is, a waste. Try these…

  1. Eat a healthy diet. Everyone knew that the leading cause of morbidities and mortalities for Filipinos are mostly related to our diet.  Moreover, hypertension, cardiac disease, infection, etc are all preventable diseases. The direct relation of diet to some of these diseases are all well established. Why not avoid them to save thousands from medical cost of those preventable disease? Besides, its cheaper to buy non meat products!
  2. Exercise regularly. Exercise has a very positive effect on risk reduction for almost all type of diseases. It also reduces your time spent on other less healthy activities (smoking, alcohol etc). Choosing the appropriate exercises for age and health conditions helps as it reduces unnecessary risk and cost. Take note, exercise does not always mean the gym, which is expensive by the way.
  3. Consult your family physician and seek advice on regular check-ups and cost efficient lifestyle screening program to pick up possible disastrous diseases. Also ask your physician for self examinations that you can perform for health disease screening. Practice this self examination as advised.
  4. Consult physicians that are accredited by your health insurance to lessen cost of clinic visits. Check this coverage whenever you sign health insurance contracts.
  5. Wear protective equipment when you are driving, especially with motorcycles. While motorcycles is the leading cause of death for road accidents in the Philippines, its popularity among Filipinos continues. The staggering cost of hospitalization secondary to a motorcycle accidents is almost equivalent to the cost of your house and lot today. So don’t say we didn’t warn you. At the very least, check if you have a valid life insurance.
  6. Choose a healthy lifestyle and be aware of the dangers of vices (alcohol, smoking etc)not just to your health but also to your pocket. I’ve seen a lot of impoverished Filipinos still languishing on these vices yet complain  they don’t have anything to buy food.
  7. Lessen frequent physician and emergency consults for sickness like common colds where home remedies (followed properly) is advisable. More so, do not give antibiotics immediately whenever you (or your child)begin to sneeze. That might just actually save you money for the next expensive antibiotics.
  8. In some cases, and if from reputable manufacturer, generic drugs are okay as a more cost effective substitute. Ask your physician regarding this  when he gives drug prescription. Also try to avail of pharmacy’s promos (like senior citizen’s and suki card discounts etc.) when buying medicines.
  9. If you have to undergo procedures, ask your physician if this can be done on an overnight or outpatient basis. If not, ask if how can the hospital stay be shorten to lessen the cost.
  10. Examine your medical bill, and make sure everything tallies. If not ask for the billing’s explanation. If there is a refund, make sure you can make the proper claims for refund.

At the bottom line of all these tips is the preventive aspect at avoiding health care cost. Patient education is also necessary to sustain cost reduction without having to suffer health care overheads. Good luck.