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Save Money on Health Services by Paying Cash
Bret Brummitt10/31/23 3:28 AM3 min read

Save Money on Health Services by Paying Cash

Save Money on Health Services by Paying Cash: When and How

In the face of rising health insurance deductibles that seem increasingly unaffordable, many consumers are exploring the option of paying for health services with cash. They can save significant money on health services by paying cash.  While this concept isn’t new, it’s gaining momentum, and providers are becoming more receptive to it. It’s important to note that if you choose to pay with cash, your insurance deductible won’t apply.  Yep, you read correctly.  That expense will not go towards your deductible.

When should you consider using cash over insurance?

The answer is simple: whenever the potential savings make sense. To determine this, ask yourself two key questions:

1) Will I likely meet my deductible this calendar year?

If the answer is “no,” then proceed to the next question.

2) If I pay cash, will the cost savings outweigh any challenges dealing with the provider’s billing department or gatekeeper?

No one can predict the future, and unexpected health issues can arise at any time. This uncertainty complicates the deductible decision. However, the closer you are to the end of the calendar year, the easier it is to make an informed choice.

Regarding the savings question, let’s make it clear. If you can save $400 or more, it’s highly likely you won’t second-guess your decision.

When can paying cash for health services lead to significant savings?

Here are scenarios where paying cash for healthcare services can lead to significant savings:

Imaging Services (X-rays, MRIs, etc.)

Prices can vary significantly for imaging, so contact a few local providers as a self-pay patient to compare prices. It’s your choice whether you utilize your insurance or not. Some providers even offer off-peak times for cash-pay healthcare.

Keep in mind that if you require an MRI, it may contribute to meeting your deductible, even if you could save money by paying cash.

Physical Therapy

For individuals with ongoing health issues, such as back pain or sciatica, regular visits to a physical therapist can provide relief. Due to low reimbursement rates from health plans, many physical therapy providers have established systems for cash-pay patients. Being upfront about your intention to pay for long-term engagement can lead to substantial annual savings.

Be cautious, though, as some practices offer add-on screenings and wellness lab services as free or insurance-only. These services may only be covered by your high-deductible plan after you meet your deductible, potentially leaving you responsible for third-party lab fees.

Anesthesia and Outpatient Procedures

Determining whether to pay cash for anesthesia and outpatient procedures depends on your deductible status. If you expect to meet your deductible, it might be best to stick with your insurance. However, for simpler procedures like outpatient hernia repairs or diagnostic studies, the overall cost, including physician fees, facility charges, and anesthesia, can be $5,000 or less. If you’re nearing the end of your plan year and know you won’t meet your deductible, opting for cash payments can yield substantial savings.

Anesthesia providers often offer prompt-pay discounts for patients, saving you hundreds of dollars without affecting your deductible or insurance plan.

A word of caution: Some non-network outpatient facilities only accept insurance and bill exorbitant amounts to maximize revenue. This is one reason why health plans in Texas have introduced more EPO plans, which do not cover non-network, non-emergency services.

We Can Help

In conclusion, we offer tools and guidance to help you make the most of your healthcare benefits and become a more informed consumer of healthcare services. Let’s have a conversation about your specific needs and real-world solutions.


Bret Brummitt

In 2019, Bret launched Generous Benefits, leveraging 20 years of experience in Employee Benefits. His mission is to transform communities through innovative benefits solutions. Bret envisions benefits beyond traditional offerings, aiming for a lasting impact by stretching, tailoring, and curating packages. He coaches insurance agencies with Q4intelligence, actively participating in communities like Health Rosetta and the Free Market Medical Association. Based in Austin, he balances his professional pursuits with running alongside Gilbert's Gazelles and playing baseball with the Austin Blue Jays.

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