If you have health insurance, you've probably noticed your co-pays and deductibles going up.
If you don't have insurance, the cost of basic medical care may seem out of reach.
Fortunately, there are some ways you can save on health-care costs. That's according to Allen Erenbaum, who represents the Consumer Health Alliance. It's a group of companies that offer discount health-care options.
He explains, "Discount health-care programs are not insurance, but are a mechanism for people to access savings on those services that they would need. With a discount health-care plan, you can pay a small monthly fee and your whole family can access savings on providers who've already agreed to participate and give a discount to people who're members of that plan."
Once members pay the monthly fee, they can then save 20%-60% on things like dental, vision or chiropractic care.
You can also save on dental care by getting routine treatments at a dental clinic, such as those at Penn and Temple, where dental students -- overseen by their professors -- get hands-on training.
And cut costs by avoiding the Emergency Room, if at all possible.
Erenbaum suggests, "Given the high cost of care and deductibles, the last thing you want to do is go to the ER, if you don't need to. So, take advantage of opportunities, whether it's an urgent care clinic -- if it's something more serious -- or if it's something that doesn't require emergency attention, go to one of the walk-in clinics that are at a pharmacy. They have trained staff there, you can. You can often handle your issue quickly and for a lot less money."
Also, ask the pharmacist to look at the list of medications you're taking to make sure you're not paying for overlapping prescriptions.
And if you do need to buy drugs, comparison shop for them on a site like GoodRx.com. We found drastic price differences for the same medicine at different pharmacies.
Finally, there's nothing wrong with comparison shopping for medical care and procedures as well. Your doctor may not want to give you a price, but you can ask. And use the site FairHealth Consumer website to find out what the average price for that procedure is in your area.