An unexpected injury or illness can lead to undue financial hardship on top of the stress that dealing with our health can cause. Many people don’t realize that they may be able to lower healthcare costs. In fact, some of these methods may promote good health overall.

People with chronic health conditions may not be able to avoid taking medication. However, they can take some steps to save money on those prescriptions. First, they can opt for generic versions of mediation if they exist. If that isn’t an option, their doctor may be able to recommend similar medication at a lower price. Order medicine from another source, such as a mail-order provider, can also provide cost savings. Medication samples are one final option.

Routine healthcare can often sometimes avoid a sudden, costly condition. Spending a little now can prevent you from spending a lot later. Furthermore, some insurance companies offer discounts or other benefits for patients who get routine screenings. Carefully choose your insurance plan, taking into consideration both cost and benefits. Skimping now may cost you later.

When medical care is essential, planning ahead can also save patients money. Scheduling an appointment with a regular doctor versus going to the emergency room can result in a lower medical bill. Urgent care is often cheaper than in the emergency room. Similarly, patients may save money if procedures can be done as outpatient care rather than inpatient.

Patients should take care that referrals are for providers within their insurance networks. Otherwise, they may have to pay out of pocket or be charged higher rates. Some employers may have on-site clinics, which are more affordable for employees than other medical centers.

Finally, some employers provide the options for a health savings account, also known as an HSA. Employees can set aside pre-taxed money into these accounts. That money is available to them when they need it for medical services. If the money remains in the account unused, it collects interests. HSAs may be eligible for transfer to a new employer. A similar account type, an FSA, is owned by the employer, and funds must be used within the year.

These steps, when combined with a healthy lifestyle, can lead to lower healthcare costs.