April 12, 2010 -- The health care overhaul has been signed into law, several Republican attorneys general are challenging it, yada, yada, yada. If you need help saving on health care right NOW, before our politicians are done arguing, here are several incredible resources I found when I was researching the health care section of my book, "SAVE BIG".
Find a health plan you qualify for: The Foundation for Health Coverage Education can help you figure out what kinds of health insurance are available to you -- public and private. Take the Foundation's excellent Health Coverage Eligibility Quiz here.
Look up how much Medicare pays for procedures: The American Medical Association provides an online tool where you can look up how much Medicare reimburses doctors and hospitals for various medical procedures. This is a key tool if you need or want to negotiate how much you pay for a given procedure. Check it out here.
Find out how much insurance companies pay for procedures : Another way to negotiate with doctors and hospitals is to ask them to honor the rate they charge insurance companies -- even if you are uninsured. The Healthcare Blue Book is an amazing Web site where you can look up the insurance company rate for thousands of different medical procedures and operations. See it here.
Look for less expensive prescriptions: Often you can lower your prescription medication costs by switching to a generic or even switching to a different drug in the same class. Shopping around can also bring big savings. Here are two free sites that help you do all of the above: www.RXaminer.com and www.DestinationRX.com. Author and physician Edward Jardini also runs a great site that targets the most expensive meds and suggests alternatives. www.howtosaveondrugs.com.
How to Save on Your health Care
Get prescription medications for free -- yes, free: Pharmaceutical companies give away 200 million dollars worth of medicine every year to people in need. Qualifying is not that hard. And there is a central Web site to learn about all the different programs. Here it is.
Help to pay your hospital bills: The federal government provides money through something called the Hill Burton program for hospitals to take care of low income people at no charge. Here's a list of hospitals that participate.