3 easy strategies to help you save money and get more from your healthcare
Private health insurance in the United States has made the health care system dizzyingly tricky to navigate. From constantly rising costs to alarming insecurity, we get that getting coverage for your basic health needs can make the process more hassle than it seems to be worth. Unfortunately, this means that many Americans either remain uninsured or do not seek medical care at all. Sesame was founded on the belief that health care should be affordable and accessible to everyone, not just those with premium insurance policies.
To help you work your way through the maze of networks, co-pays and coverage, we’ve put together 3 simple healthcare hacks. These insider tips can save you money while boosting the efficacy of your healthcare plan. Use these strategies the next time you need medical care of any kind. We’ve got your back!
Tip 1: Ask about cash-pay rates
Many healthcare providers and clinics offer reduced rates if you pay for your medical services upfront. Paying for care without going through an insurance network is referred to as “cash-pay”. Basically, you pay for your care like you would an item at a retail store. You book the service you need and pay for it before your visit.
Cash-pay is sometimes cheaper than insurance coverage because it allows providers to receive payment more quickly. It also completes the transaction without the complicated billing processes that healthcare networks require. Paying for your services upfront saves your provider time, resources and energy.
Call your provider ahead of your appointment to ask about their cash-pay rates. You can then compare these prices to what you estimate you would pay out-of-pocket to your insurance network. While not all providers offer reduced cash-pay rates, many do. It’s a question worth asking before your appointment, as it could save you money (and effort) on your care. Don’t worry, you’re not breaking the law or violating some health care taboo. You’re well within your rights as a patient and customer to ask about cash-pay rates and measure them against your co-pay costs.
Tip 2: Save things you don’t need until the end of the year
Flexible spending account (FSA) funds are often overlooked resources to help pay for medical services you do not need immediately. These employer-sponsored benefits are usually taken out of your paycheck before taxes. They accumulate throughout the year but do not carry over into the next year. In other words, this reservoir of money taken from your pay disappears at the end of each year.
Nobody likes throwing away money. We’ve already explored all the creative and beneficial ways you can use these leftover funds at the end of the year. Many of these services are considered non-essential, meaning that you may pay more for them out-of-pocket than you would for an annual checkup. Because of this, we recommend you wait until the end of the year to use your accumulated savings on skin care, weight management and elective dental care. Patience is a virtue. Holding off on these services–unless they are an absolute necessity–allows you to put your saved money to good use while getting the most out of your healthcare plan.
Note that because there are different types of FSAs, remember to check with your FSA administrator to make sure your particular expense will be covered.
Tip 3: Sidestep the system entirely and use Sesame
The biggest hack of them all? Saving up to 60% on care when you book your medical services through Sesame. Sesame works directly with health care providers–not insurance companies–to bring patients direct care without the hassle and stress of co-pays and networks.
All services on Sesame are cash-pay, so you pay a single upfront cost for your appointment. No surprise bills or hidden fees. Plus, Sesame offers both in-person and online appointment options. That means you can go to a clinic to talk face-to-face with a health care provider or book a video visit from the comfort of your own home.
Online marketplaces like Sesame are changing the landscape of health care. With services ranging from mental health consults to [imaging appointments], you can get all your medical needs met in one place on Sesame often at lower prices than what you’ll pay through most insurance networks.
Don’t let the confusing web of health insurance keep you from getting the diagnostic and preventative care you need. Use these tips to hack your healthcare and get the best possible treatment for the lowest price.