Many people find it difficult to budget for big unexpected costs like medical bills. This is particularly the case with writers, who often live on an irregular income. Even with health insurance in place, it’s still easy to be caught out by high deductibles or treatment costs that aren’t covered. Below are a few ways to reduce the cost of medical bills.

Choose the right health insurance plan

A good health insurance plan will cover the majority of your treatment. You should be careful of cheap plans that don’t cover you for basic or common procedures. A high deductible plan can also be dangerous – while you may pay low monthly rates, you’ll have to pay more out of your own pocket when it comes to actually making a claim. Always weigh up the costs with the coverage to make sure that you’re not paying a monthly fee for nothing.


Take time to shop around for treatment

Different clinics may charge different rates. While you may not have time to shop around for treatment in an emergency, it’s definitely something that you should do when it comes to planned treatment. Some people travel to other states or even other countries in order to reduce the cost of treatment. Even with the cost of flights factored in, you may still save money overall on expensive treatments like surgery by looking further afield (a $30,000 heart operation in the US could cost as little as $8,700 in India – and you’ll usually get the same level of care).


Know what you’re legally entitled to

A lot of people don’t realize that they’re entitled to financial support such as medicaid. Your state may even offer cheap and free treatment options based on your income. There’s also the possibility of seeking legal compensation when it comes to accidents and acts of medical practice. For instance, when you are rear ended in a car accident and develop an injury, you will likely be able to file a lawsuit to help cover treatment. Make sure that you’re getting the financial help that you deserve.


Know when to negotiate

Like many big expenses in life, it’s possible to negotiate the price. Treatment planned in advance can sometimes be lowered by offering to pay it in advance. In others cases, you can often still ask for discounts. Remember to go through your clinic’s billing department and not through your doctor – the doctors often aren’t the ones setting the prices and have little control over this area.


Look after your health

By far the best thing that you can do to reduce medical expenses is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Eating the right foods, doing exercise, not smoking and relieving stress could be enough to prevent the majority of common health conditions. As for avoiding injuries, wear protective equipment where necessary and don’t be too reckless. Looking after your health may not do much against genetic health problems, but it could still save you thousands on those lifestyle-affected health problems.