With more than 44 million uninsured adults under 65 in the U.S.; there’s no way to avoid exhausting and devastating financial repercussions from healthcare cost for many (Center for Disease Control). Problems with our healthcare system need to be recognized, no matter which side of the political spectrum one stands on. However, until an optimal solution is found, there are many tricks of the trade for consumers to get a leg up next time they break one.

1. More Than Generic Savings

Asking your doctor for a generic version of your prescription can end up saving hundreds of dollars over the years, or immediately in the case of some higher-priced medications. Martin Rosen, author of “The Healthcare Survival Guide” notes that many patients with healthcare or even great healthcare plans don’t realize that their co-pays could be significantly lower for generics. Furthermore, he notes that many prescriptions like supplements, pre-natal vitamins and some gastrointestinal medications can be found much cheaper over-the-counter.

2. If You Don’t Know. . . Ask!

Sometimes the simplest action can result in the biggest rewards. Most patients may not be aware that most doctor’s offices have discount programs, or if they don’t, many of them will simply offer a discount to loyal clientele in times of hardship. Rosen reports, in his book, that a whopping 61 percent of patients who asked their doctors for a discount, got one. “A remarkable number” points out Rosen.

3. Compare and Contrast

Hospitals, doctors, emergency treatment and surgeries are not all created equal-- in price or quality-- and luckily the price doesn’t have to correspond with medical treatment. There are so many entities and touchpoints when dealing with a medical problem that it’s easy to forget you can shop around and compare prices. There are six potential aspects to a major medical issue, points out the Maher Law Firm, which specializes in injury, and each of these aspects come with tremendous costs that can scar your back account for years-- but much of that could be avoided by a few short compare/contrast phone calls.

4. Read Your Bills with Your Bifocals On

Medical bills can be such a headache that most of us want to spend as little time as possible pouring over them, which can lead to major problems that would otherwise go unnoticed. The Medical Billing Advocates of America reports that up to 80 percent of medical bills contain errors. The charges can sound so ambiguous that it seems like a waste to pursue them, but persistent phone calls and some extra leg work can potentially save thousands of dollars.