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How to avoid higher doctor fees in 2015

Posted at 3:34 PM, Jan 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-06 12:45:59-05

Whether you have company insurance, use the Affordable Health Care Exchange or are on Medicare, look for higher doctor and hospital costs in 2015.

Beware the emergency room

Today's high deductible health plans mean a simple ER Visit, for a cut or a cough, can cost nearly a thousand dollars.

Sue Knox and her husband Tom told me a while back they were charged almost $1,000 dollars for stitches and a tetanus shot, after a minor gardening mishap.

"$963 was the bill for a simple visit to the emergency room," Sue Knox said. "I thought it was crazy."

But high out of pocket costs are now common with high deductible health plans, whether from your company or in an Obamacare exchange.

What will cost more in 2015

The New York Times reports that for 2015, expect to see:

  •      Higher out of pocket costs.
  •      Higher maximums before your insurance kicks in.
  •      Higher prices on generic drugs, some of which have doubled in recent years.  

Consider urgent cares

What can you do to keep your medical costs down?

If it's not life threatening, and you have a scrape, cut or fever, try to use an urgent care. They can treat a flu visit or small injury for a fraction of the cost of the ER.

"The advantage is the average cost is going to be $150 to $200," Mark  Duffer of Doctor's Express said. That's far less than the $800 bill you can expect from an emergency room in most major hospitals.

Make sure doctor is in-network

One more thing to watch for in 2015: More out of network fees.
Consumer Reports Magazine says while the hospital may be in your network, the doctor who stitches you up may not be.

Ditto for the anesthesiologist if you need minor surgery. Make sure if you are planning any surgery in advance that you check out the facility, doctor, and anesthesiologist to make sure all are in-network.

Obviously, you can't do that if you have just had an accident. But if it is not an absolute emergency, ask questions before you go in.
And check with a great free online service called, to see what that procedure should cost.

That way you don't waste your money.


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