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Being a woman requires a multitude of health needs that men don’t have to deal with. Health care is unfortunately very expensive, and it’s important to save money in any way we can. Out of pocket costs are particularly outrageous if your health insurance does not cover certain things. The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have insurance, but certain plans will still make women pay for prescriptions and lofty copays. Here are some strategic tips for how to save money on women’s health.
Birth Control Options
Birth control is one of the most common forms of health care that many women require. Even women and teens that are not sexually active utilize birth control to regulate their periods and their hormones. To save money on women’s health in relation to birth control, it may mean sticking to the birth control pill as opposed to the wide variety of other contraceptive options such as IUDs, the patch, the Depo shot, and more. With insurance, using a generic birth control pill is usually free of charge. However, prices will vary depending on the brand used. Regardless of price, remember that your body’s response to the type of contraceptive is ultimately the most important thing.
Buy Your Medications Online
A strategic way to save money is to go online to buy your medications. Out of pocket costs at the pharmacy can be very expensive for medications, but there are online options such as GoodRX.com and others. It is worth a shot to compare prices with online retailers before going to your pharmacy.
Pay Cash for Services
In some cases, your doctor’s office or hospital will give you a discount if you decide to pay with cash or credit cards upfront for your procedures. This saves your doctor’s office the trouble of going through your insurance. While this is not a guaranteed option, it does not hurt to ask if you have the money and would rather pay less right away instead of more later on.
Schedule Procedures Early in the Week
Scheduling your procedures earlier in the work week may save you some extra money on your health care, because the end of the week is usually much more booked up for hospitals and doctors’ offices. If you are flexible, you may be able to receive a discount. Again, these are small tricks to save money on women’s health, and they aren’t guaranteed to save you a ton, but anything helps.
Annual Check Ups
To keep up with your health, women need to have annual STD screenings and pap smears. Thankfully, under the Affordable Care Act, these pap smears and cancer screenings are fully covered by insurance. This means it’s important to be on insurance in order to get this coverage. If you don’t have insurance or you have a plan that predates the ACA, then you could end up paying anywhere from $50 to $200 per exam, which could lead to you neglecting your health care all together to avoid costs.
Don’t Say Yes to Everything
While it’s important to get your annual check ups, there are certain things you don’t necessarily need if you want to save money on women’s health. For instance, pap smears every year may not be necessary if you are in good health. Also, some doctors may recommend bone density scans and other unnecessary procedures at extra costs. Saying no sometimes for things that are just extra procedures is a great way to save.
It is essential for women to get regular mammograms after a certain age, and these should be covered by insurance. However, you may also want to get tested for the BRCA gene early on in life if you know that breast cancer runs in your family. This might not be covered by insurance, and it can be quite expensive. Not to mention, if you test positive for the gene, the preventive surgery is very costly as well. Be sure to talk to your insurance in these specific cases to work out ways to save money. If you find out you’re high risk for cancer, this is well worth the money.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
A flexible spending account may be offered by your company or your insurance, and this is a way to put money aside tax free, which can be used specifically for health care costs. This is a great way to save money on women’s health, because you’re essentially getting to pay for your health care without paying taxes. You are also saving money for your health care, and it will be there whenever you need it.
CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP)
The NBCCEDP is a great program which offers low-cost healthcare to anyone whose income is at or below 250 percent of the poverty level. You may also qualify if you are a certain age or your insurance doesn’t cover certain screening exams. This program offers some essential services, which can save you money on women’s health, such as mammograms, pap smears, HPV screenings, and more.
Lastly, one of the best resources we have in the United States is Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood offers health care for women that is not only related to birth, but also wellness visits, STD testing, and cancer screenings. You can be seen without insurance, and they may offer you alternative ways to pay. Planned Parenthood can be found in many urban communities in need.
All of these strategies are great ideas if you are looking to save money on women’s health. Women have a lot of expenses in order to keep themselves healthy, and it’s important that we find ways to save money as opposed to skimping on the services that are essential to our wellbeing.