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How to Save Money at Your Doctor’s Office

Spend less at your check-up, thanks to these tips from an anonymous physician.

By an anonymous physician, as told to Shivani Vora
Illustration of Doctor's

“If you have health insurance, don’t bother trying to negotiate your co-pay or coinsurance—the amount is set by your provider, and legally you must pay a doctor that rate. However, if you need a test or a procedure that your insurance doesn’t fully cover, ask your physician for a discount on the fee; you could save as much as 20 percent. (Always speak directly to the physician; the office manager is more likely to say no, without even consulting the doctor.)

“Anyone with a chronic illness who requires frequent appointments can also get a good deal by signing up for a concierge service. The fee is high—$1,000 to $2,000 annually—but it usually includes unlimited e-mails and no-cost phone consultations, which can cut down on pricey office visits. Ask your doctor if she offers such a service or would be willing to make a similar arrangement with you (propose to pay the equivalent of 8 to 10 co-pays up front). And remember to ask for a free sample if your doctor prescribes an expensive name-brand medication or one that you’ve never taken before. If the prescription is used to treat a chronic condition, like acid reflux or high blood pressure, he could give you a two- or three-month supply.”

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