Visiting a pediatric clinic can be expensive, and a pediatric urgent care is even worse. Sometimes, it can seem like insurance costs are just as bad as paying out of pocket, depending on your insurance options. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to minimize your child healthcare expenses, including:
Assistance Programs: Always check to see if you qualify for federal and state assistance programs, such as Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs primarily have income-based requirements. However, CHIP Medicaid allows for a higher income than Medicaid and provides healthcare to your children at little to no cost.
Know the Ins and Outs of Your Insurance Plan: Before you visit a pediatric clinic, be sure you know the ins and outs of your child’s insurance. First, review the insurance plan carefully to understand what costs you’re responsible for, including copays or coinsurance payments.
Next, check to see if you have a deductible and if you’ve met the deductible for the year. A deductible is an amount you will need to pay towards healthcare before your insurance kicks in. Finally, look at what kinds of medical services are included in your insurance plan and what aren’t. Doing so will help you avoid any surprises on your bill.
Only Use an In-Network Pediatric Center: Before visiting your favorite pediatric center, make sure it’s in-network. All hospitals, clinics, doctors, and pharmacies belong to different networks. Therefore, your insurance provider may only pay for in-network locations and providers or charge you more when you visit an out-of-network option.
Shop Around Before Visiting a Pediatric Clinic: The cost of one pediatric clinic and another can vary widely. If your child does not have CHIP Medicaid, you can still reduce your out-of-pocket expenses by learning about the fees that different doctors and locations charge, even if all of these options are in-network through your insurance. In addition, many insurers provide cost estimate tools on their websites that you can use to view doctor and clinic fees to get a better idea of how to help you cut down on healthcare expenses for your children.
Take Advantage of Free Medical Services: The Affordable Care Act made it easier for everyone to get preventative care services. As a result, many medical services became free to everyone, regardless of their insurance status. Free medical services include vaccinations, depression screening, blood pressure screening, diet counseling, and more.
See if Your Employer Offers Health Spending Accounts: Some employers offer healthcare spending accounts that make it easier for your child to visit a pediatric center without costing you an arm and a leg. These spending accounts allow you to place funds into the account that can be used towards medical expenses. These funds are generally deducted from your paycheck before taxes, letting you save more.