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Save Money, Stay Healthy

From doctor’s visits to prescription drugs to copays and premiums, the amount of money you spend on healthcare every year can feel endless. Luckily, a little comparison shopping and smart detective work can net significant savings. Here are 11 ways to keep a little more cash in your pocket.

Ask About Generics

If your doctor prescribes a drug, ask if there’s a suitable generic alternative. “There are a lot of plans that will charge a significantly greater copay if you use a brand name drug versus a generic,” says Martin Rosen, author of “The Healthcare Survival Guide.” He says, “Taking the generic can be a big, big savings.”

You may also want to ask if there’s an over-the-counter alternative, especially if it’s a supplement, like a prenatal vitamin or iron pill, or medication for a gastrointestinal problem.

Ask for a Discount

“Some 61 percent of people who went to a doctor and asked for a discount actually got something,” says Rosen. “That’s a remarkable number.”

If you’ve been a loyal patient and your finances are tight, don’t be afraid to ask if your doctor or healthcare provider can cut you a break on an office visit charge or a procedure cost. You might be surprised.

Listen to Your Doc

“Around 20 percent of people never fill a prescription they get from their doctor,” says Larry Boress, president of the Midwest Business Group on Health. “Half of them don’t take it correctly, and half don’t refill it.”

Failure to follow your doctor’s orders could land you right back in the hospital, racking up yet another medical bill.

Take a Walk

One of the best ways to stay out of the doctor’s office, and keep copays in your wallet, is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are,” Boress says. “If you’re walking every day and eating smaller portions, you’ll tend to stay healthy.”

Go outside for a quick stroll. You’ll feel better, and it could save you money on healthcare.

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