Suggestions to keep health care costs down

February 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The typical American family spends an average of $6,000 on out of pocket health care costs. That number could jump as high as $9,000 by 2012. Here are some suggestions on how you can keep the cost down.

Good Housekeeping reports that health insurance costs have increased 131 percent in the last decade.

"I have three kids and in the winter, everybody is always sick. And there are times with one illness I can take a child to the doctor two times or three times," said parent Harly Golub.

But something as simple as going to your local drug store can help you save money.

"You can save on basic vaccines by checking out your local drug store. You may be able to get things like a flu shot for less than at a doctor's office," said Janet Siroto of Good Housekeeping.

"CVS Pharmacy currently has H1N1 vaccine in many locations across the country nationwide, and the current charge is $15 for the administration fee," said Papayta Tankut, R.Ph. of CVS Pharmacy.

Saving number two is ask your doctor for a break if you pay for care up front rather than waiting to be billed.

"Collecting fees is often a doctor's number one issue, so if you ask if you can pay at the time of your visit, you can often get a better rate and bargain the price down a bit," said Siroto.

And finally, ask for drug samples; drug manufacturers give doctors free meds as part of a sampling program. You never know what you might get.