Wouldn’t you love to save money on healthcare expenses this year? You’ve probably noticed that healthcare costs are expensive and continuously rising. In fact, rising healthcare costs have become one of the most significant expenses to plan for annually.
Having a primary care provider (PCP) is the secret to successfully save money on healthcare expenses.
Yes, there are some services you can avoid using, or use less of, that’s true. But in the long term, trying to prevent the use of medical services isn’t effective, 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, then 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. Urgent care centers and emergency room services are always more expensive, and 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 the wasting of your time and to save money on healthcare expenses is to establish with, and utilize, a primary care provider so you can avoid using emergent providers for non-emergent care needs.
Avoid using emergent services for non-emergent needs to save 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 (in some ‘walk-in clinics’)
It is extremely important to ‘get established,’ or ‘officially’ become one of their patients.
- First, to establish 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 in different levels, which are determined by the complexity and what kind of services are needed. In general, a visit to get established is more basic, and therefore, more affordable.
- A person could expect to pay (here in the midwest) anywhere between $23-$177 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.
- It is more affordable to pay for primary care provider services if you have a robust insurance plan but it is still possible to get established without any, or if you have high deductible insurance coverage.
You could recover the return on your investment
the first time you avoid a higher costing service
Cost Benefits After Establishing with a Primary Care Provider
1. Enjoy a significant savings of 10-15%!
a. Many primary care providers (PCPs) can/will effectively treat multiple kinds of 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 soon), many clinics will do everything they can to get you into a provider!
a. For many, that can be a $25-$300 savings just 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 the great 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
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 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 who may connect you to the provider on call.
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, your 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 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 so you can save time and money tomorrow.
P.S. You can learn more ways to save money on your healthcare expenses by subscribing to my newsletter. Enter your email in the green/white box at the bottom of the page!
Photo Credit: Pixabay