A Strategic Approach
You can reduce healthcare costs a number of ways; according to Healthcare.com, the stakes have expanded, but there is no lack of hope: “Yearly out-of-pocket healthcare costs have more than doubled in the last ten years; luckily, there are things consumers can do to lower their healthcare spending.”
One considerable thing in this regard is travel. If you don’t strategize in advance, you’re going to come against costs that may surprise you, and which can be avoided. For example, if you’ve got a pre-existing condition like diabetes, not packing enough insulin can cost you a few hundred dollars than you need to pay via out-of-network costs.
Meanwhile, if you “overpacked” the necessary insulin and related administration equipment, you’ll be set for your journey and not come against situations where you have to buy this medicinal supplement out-of-network. Granted, emergencies can knock you out of your previously planned pattern of approach, so work in some redundancies.
Have one bag with your primary medical supplies, and then have an emergency pack with other medical supplies should your primary bag be lost or compromised for some reason.
Scope It Out
Something else you want to do is scope out the area you’re traveling to. It may be that there are available healthcare options which don’t require insurance, and are affordable. This is a minority of situations, but it isn’t without the realm of possibility, and if you don’t research beforehand, you may never find such options.
When emergencies transpire, panic sets in. Panic then forces decisions which aren’t as cost-effective as they could be. Planning in advance can help you avoid making such poor decisions.
Next, you’ve got telemedicine. Telemedicine is a process by which internet tech is used to provide remote medical solutions for those who are in remote locations, or can’t be transported to a medical institution. At the same time, this represents a cost-effective way to get services from primary care physicians wherever you happen to be. Even though you’re physically “out-of-network”, you’re not using “out-of-network” care.
Now not all healthcare facilities are going to offer this new service—it is in a bit of a “startup” phase. However, there are plenty of new startups even if your healthcare institution doesn’t offer this. If you haven’t looked into telemedicine, that may be worth doing.
Health, Exercise, And International Medicine
Another tip that is good in general, whether or not you travel, is for you to practice diet and exercise habits which are healthy. Avoid processed foods, don’t be sedentary. Any doctor will tell you this is where the majority of health issues come from in developed countries: bad nutrition and poor exercise. If you’re in good shape when you travel, you’re less likely to encounter health issues.
Lastly, sometimes traveling internationally can provide you cost-effective healthcare not available in your home country. This is especially true in the United States. If you’re undergoing a procedure that has an established process behind it, you could cut 2/3rds of the cost from your bill by getting procedures done in India, Mexico, or Thailand.
If you’re cutting 2/3rds of the cost involved in a procedure that would be $10k in the US, then your savings through international medical care actually pay for the trip, and you’ve still got some left over. Traveling can be safe and even pay off in terms of healthcare if you plan carefully.