Medical care can get expensive. The more intense your care gets, the more money you’re spending. And often, when you’re dealing with medical issues, you can’t afford to waste money. This is why it is so important to know how to save money on your medical expenses. There are ways you can do so both on your own and with your doctors. Here are four tips to get you started.

Prevent Problems Before they Start

The best way to save money on medical expenses is to avoid those expenses altogether. If you can find ways to avoid getting sick or injured, take them. One of the most simple examples of this is handwashing. Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent you and your family from getting sick and all you need is soap and clean water. You can also wear your seatbelt in the car to prevent injuries and wear your helmet on the bike. Doing these simple things can stop terrible things from happening.

Living a healthy lifestyle, in general, can also prevent expensive medical problems. While you can’t avoid all injuries and illnesses, a good diet and exercise routine will keep your body as strong as possible. This will help it fight off problems as well.

Go to Urgent Care

If you have an injury or illness that needs treatment, but isn’t an emergency, consider going to urgent care instead of the emergency room. Not only will you get seen faster at urgent care, but you’ll also pay less as well. The cost of urgent care will depend on the clinic and your insurance coverage, but you can generally save a lot of money by going with this route. Urgent care can help with things like sprained ankles and respiratory illnesses. While you should always go to the hospital in a life or death situation, urgent care is a great option to get quality care for less money.

Negotiate Your Bills

Your medical bills are not final. So if you find you can’t afford the price, try to negotiate with your doctor’s office and your insurance company. The doctor’s office might be able to resubmit it to your insurance company in hopes that they’ll accept it. They can also help you find potential discounts or get on a payment plan. While you’ll still pay the full amount on a payment plan, spreading it out over time can help you avoid using credit cards or having to pay late fees.

You should also go to your insurance company with high bills. There’s always a chance someone made a mistake and overcharged you. This can happen for things like dental costs. The second most common reason for braces, aside from aesthetics, is an overbite. Depending on how they are billed, braces might have different costs. Or they might be able to make an exception for something that is outside of your policy. Even if they can’t save you any money, there’s no harm in trying.

Buy Generic Drugs

If your doctor prescribes you drugs, see if you can get the generic pills instead of the name brand. This can save you a lot of money while still providing you with the medication you need. Don’t stop taking your medication in order to save money. It can cause problems. If you’re one of the 15% of diabetes patients that develops diabetic foot ulcers, you’ll need to treat them. Using generic drugs for this or any other type of problem can save you hundreds of dollars. So make sure you talk to your doctor and pharmacist.

Saving money on your medical bills is possible, though it might require some forethought and negotiation. Take these suggestions into consideration as you budget out your medical care. They can be a big help!