How to Save Money on Health and Medical Bills

Updated on October 6, 2018

Save Money . . .

  • See a doctor online to save medical expenses. I love this option: just log in and get an appointment on the spot, or later in the day. No waiting rooms, no leaving the house, no missing time from work for a routine prescription update. If you are in the US, check your insurance plan for discounted or free online medical appointments. In some cases, Medicare Part B or Medicaid plans also offer this option.
  • If you live in Canada, some provinces offer online medical consults free with your medical plan at , and there are lots of company medical plans that offer this worldwide for a fraction of the cost of an in-office appointment.
  • Many states/provinces offer a free telephone-nurseline as well. Try dialing 811 late at night with a crying baby.

  • Many schools and employers also offer free or low-cost mental health care online, and you can even download an app to talk to a qualified therapist. Do a search online and see what works best for you.

  • Stay healthy! Wearing a seatbelt or helmet, following speed limits and avoiding risky situations keeps you OUT of the Emergency Room.

  • Get free lifestyle info as well as screenings at health-related events, seminars and health fairs. Many drugstore offer a place to check your blood pressure for free. Ask if your local pharmacy has any outreach days.

  • Research ahead and time and use the insurance network providers on your health insurance.
  • Have a medical procedure or tests coming up? Call around! Local hospitals and clinics may charge very different rates for the same diagnostic test or procedure. You'll reduce your out of pocket fees.Review your medical bill when it's due: did you really receive all those tests and medications? Errors do happen. Some insurance providers even provide a bonus for locating overcharges on your hospital bill.
  • For insurance coverage, remember to get written approval before you have major health procedures completed. This is also true if you need non-emergency medical services outside the country.


EARN Money on Health and Fitness

  • Get paid to exercise. Download an app that counts your steps (like CharityMiles or Fitcoin) or your biking (like Biko), which will automatically sync with your device and provide income or rewards for moving. The folks at MoneyPantry have a great list of apps that actually pay you as you to meet health goals. You'll feel tons better, and save money on medical expenses as well.
  • Residents from some states and provinces can earn money for exercising and small surveys with Carrot Rewards.

  • If you work best with a “carrot and stick” approach to fitness, check out HealthyWage or DietBet, to place a wager on yourself and earn cash when you successfully lose weight.

  • Some people sell blood plasma. Check donation centers here.

  • You can also sometimes get medical testing and treatment free of charge. Search for “medical tests” and see what’s available.

For a cost-effective way to get support and programming for problems lifestyle behaviours, check out 12-step programs online or in your community.

More Savings Ideas

  • If you go to school, college or university, it’s very likely you are paying a fee for routine medical care. Be sure to find out what is offered and take advantage of screenings, checkups, and educational seminars that they offer.
  • Save money on dental and medical issues by addressing issues early, before a small problem becomes a big (expensive) one.

  • Watch your weight and exercise regularly to help you save on medical costs now and in the future.

  • Many people seem to have an idea that a doctor is supposed to supply a prescription at the end of every visit. This is NOT true and contributes to a very serious antibiotic resistance. Resisting the urge to demand a prescription when it’s not needed, while saving money, may also save your children’s life in future years, when they’re really sick and desperately need potent antibiotics.

  • Research is indicating that many common screenings, procedures and pre-surgery blood panels are not clinically helpful. Save money by asking if it’s really necessary.

  • Some companies offer a free flu shot every season. Take it! Even if you have to pay, a reduced risk of flu can save days of misery or at least get you back to life quicker. You’ll protect the babies and the elderly in your life as well.

  • By the same token, get your kids vaccinated and keep your vaccines up to date as well. Earlier reports that vaccinations contributed to autism have been completely disproven and people who falsified this research have been discredited. Talk to your doctor about protecting your family from these terrible childhood killers.

  • As long as it’s not an emergency, you can shop around for the best price on medical procedures. Call the local hospitals and compare prices if you’re paying out of pocket.

  • US citizens can set up a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account to help plan expenses, and get tax benefits at the same time.

Call around to find the best price for your medications. You can save hundreds or thousands of dollars.

  • Planned Parenthood offers free contraception and well-woman visits. Look for free medical clinics as well if you live in the United States.

  • Negotiate expensive medical bills. If you have a big bill, ask the hospital or facility for a discount in exchange for a quick lump sum payment. If you need to ease the hit on your budget, request a payment plan.

  • For prescriptions, ask your doctor if the generic would also be effective.

  • If you need a medication short-term, ask your doctor if they can provide it to you via samples.

  • Look into local and mail-order pharmacies for your long-term medications. Prices vary a LOT and a detailed price check could save you hundreds or thousands over dollars over time.

  • If you haven't already, add a name in your cell phone contact phone list or in your wallet titled "ICE: In Case of Emergency". Hospital staff know to check for this if they need to connect quickly with someone close to you in case of a medical emergency. This is free, and could save your life.


Stay Fit for Less

  • If you’re not using your gym membership, cancel it, and workout at home or go jogging. Or switch to a less expensive gym membership.
  • Free fitness workout: I really like the daily Darebee workout. Thanks to the Simple Dollar for directing me to this.
  • Start a garden. Fresh fruit and veg will keep you and your family away from the doctor's office.
  • Invest in a stop-smoking program. Get all the support you can, nicotine patches and/or medications if that helps, and kick that ugly habit once and for all. You'll save tons of money in daily expenses as well as in health care.

  • Join a 12 step program as a cost-effective way to get support and programming for problems with food, alcohol, narcotics or destructive behaviors. Meetings are world-wide, 24/7, and online as well so you always have support no matter where you are.

  • 12-step doesn’t suit? Consider Rational Recovery as a similar model.

  • TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is another very reasonably priced support group for those looking to lose or maintain weight loss.

  • Hire a fitness trainer and/or a nutritionist. I started seeing a local fitness trainer a year ago and it’s not cheap, but the investment has paid off. He comes to my house and I get a tailored work out twice a week, no excuses. It costs more upfront but you'll save money in health expenses and time off later on.

  • Look for a fitness trainer on Craigslist or a local paper, and check qualifications. My trainer was just starting out and was offering sessions at a very low price. His prices have gone up and it’s still worth it.

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