Blue Cross newsletter offers tips on reducing healthcare expenses

Are you looking for new ways to control your household costs? How about reducing your healthcare expenses? Blue Cross of Idaho, the state’s health insurance provider, recently sent an e-mail newsletter to employees with suggestions on how to save money on medical costs without compromising on quality of care.

To see the newsletter.

1. Stay in our network. We've negotiated contracts with physicians and medical facilities for discounted fees. These providers make up our "network." When you visit an in-network physician, you usually pay a lower copayment, lower deductible and lower coinsurance (depending on your plan). Before you make an appointment, check our provider directory to confirm that you're staying in our network.

2. See your doctor. Regular checkups are good for your health and your budget. Your primary care physician will help you stay on track with screenings and vaccines—while also keeping an eye on indicators of your overall health, like blood pressure, cholesterol and weight. Your dentist will keep tabs on the condition of your teeth and gums.

3. Use generic drugs. It's a fact: Generic drugs cost less than brand-name drugs, but they use the same active ingredients and have the same therapeutic benefit.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if generic drugs are available for the brand-name drugs you take.

4. Take care of yourself. A great way to save money on your healthcare is to stay healthy. Cut any fast food and soda from your diet, and add more veggies and whole grains. Exercise for at least 30 minutes most days. Even small lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

Published 4-8-2011