Wouldn’t you love to save time and money on healthcare expenses this year?You’ve probably noticed that healthcare costs are expensive and continuously rising.
Rising healthcare costs have become one of the most significant expenses for families to plan for annually. But you can do something about it.
Here’s the secret. Save time and money with a primary care provider (PCP).
Yes, there are some services you can avoid using or use less of, and that’s true.
But in the long term, trying to prevent the use of medical services isn’t practical and can cause higher costs later.
You can avoid waste but not the need for healthcare services.
If you don’t have a primary care provider, walk-in clinics, urgent care centers, and emergency rooms are the only other ‘quick access’ sources of healthcare services.
And depending on the day and time, availability can be a barrier.
Emergency room services are always more expensive, sometimes by hundreds or thousands of dollars, even if you have healthcare coverage.
And if you’ve ever been to one of them, you know about the long wait.
So, one of the first ways to prevent wasting your time and saving money on healthcare expenses is to establish and utilize a primary care provider to avoid using emergent providers for non-emergent care needs.
Avoid using emergent services for non-emergent needs to save time and money on healthcare expenses.
How do you establish with a primary care provider?
You can obtain primary care services from multiple healthcare service provider types, including:
- Family practice providers
- Nurse practitioners and physician assistants (in some more extensive and walk-in clinics)
It is essential to get established or officially become one of their patients.
First, to establish with a primary care provider, you need to make an appointment to see them in their clinic for an ‘establish’ visit.
Healthcare providers bill their services on different levels, which are determined by the complexity and what kind of services are needed. Generally, a visit to get established is less invasive or has fewer services and, therefore, more affordable.
A person could expect to pay (here in the midwest) anywhere between $25-$225, but it is generally less than $100. (Weren’t you a little surprised it wasn’t higher? It seems like it should be!)
- Because this fee is going to vary depending on where you live, the type of doctor that you see, and the services received, you can talk to the receptionist to find out what level of service the provider typically provides and what they may be willing to forego to get you established.
- Paying for primary care provider services is more affordable if you have a robust insurance plan. However, getting established without insurance or having high deductible insurance coverage is still possible.
You could recover the return on your investment
the first time you avoid a higher costing service
7 Benefits of Having a Primary Care Provider
There are many perks – besides the cost-savings of establishing with a primary care provider.
Ways to Save Time and Money with a Primary Care Provider
a. Many primary care providers (PCPs) can/will effectively treat multiple problems.
b. PCPs have high-quality outcomes without referring you to a specialist.
2. If your need is urgent but not emergent (you do not need to be seen in an emergency room, but you should be seen soon), many clinics will do everything they can to get you into a provider.
a. For many, that can be a $25-$300 savings in copays!
b. And, possibly, hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you have a deductible and must pay a percent or portion of all services received.
Service (aka Your Time) Benefits After Establishing with a Primary Care Provider
There are excellent service advantages of having a PCP, for example:
3. You may get prescription refills without seeing the provider
a. Providers will usually renew prescriptions (if they have seen you recently/regularly).
b. Their requirement may be as infrequent as an annual visit.
c. This may come in handy if you are out of town and need a prescription refill or something.
4. You will likely get quicker access (appointments)
a. Once you are an established patient, you can expect to be scheduled to see your provider within 1-2 days to a couple of weeks (depending on the illness or need).
Most noteworthy is the ‘hidden’ benefit of 24/7 connectivity.
Did you know:
5. If you require medical services after hours or on the weekend, most clinics have an after-hours phone service that may connect you to the provider on call.
The provider can help you determine whether you can wait to be seen in the clinic when it is open for business hours or need to be seen immediately at an urgent care or emergency room.
Virtual Services Instead of On-site Services Can Also Save You Time and Money
6. Some providers may use a nurse hotline.
a. A nurse hotline is a 24/7 service where nurses or healthcare providers are available to speak with you right then to determine if your situation should be addressed immediately or can wait until the next office day.
b. Typically, these decisions are made utilizing a physician-built and approved symptom triage guideline. As a result, you have an excellent way to avoid the emergency room and feel confident that it is safe to do so!
7. They may use e-visits or Telemedicine
a. Complete an online e-form (listing your symptoms, history, current medications, etc.) for basic ailments (think flu, sore throats, viruses, etc.).
b. The provider will review and treat. The fee for this is less expensive than an office visit and with zero work time missed or travel time invested.
c. Telemedicine uses technology to assess and treat patients.
In conclusion, using a primary care provider is a huge success because you can save valuable time, avoid using emergent providers for non-emergent services, and save money on healthcare expenses.
But the first step is to get established.
All it takes is making an appointment. So make an appointment with a primary care provider today to save time and money tomorrow.
Working on taking better care of yourself? It can be stressful and overwhelming when you begin improving your self-care, and many people also feel guilty when they start taking time for themselves. So, I made this free faith-based guide to help you get started. Be sure to grab yours!
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Lisa Kimrey is a 30-year veteran registered nurse, speaker, and author of the Bible study, The Self-care Impact: Motivation and Inspiration for Wellness. At Mylifenurse, Lisa writes about simple ways to care for yourself to stay happy, healthy, and rejuvenated while you serve and care for others. Combining her years of nursing expertise with Scripture-based encouragement, Lisa shows readers easy ways to begin and maintain their self-care journey – without feeling guilty. Be sure to grab your FREE Self-care Starter Guide!