Feet, Feet, Feet: Medical Expenses Update

Two months ago, I wrote about some medical issues the Hubs was having. His back was being a major kill joy. Now that we have two incomes, there was no reason to put off fixing it any longer.

After talking about the pain he was in and the possible reasons why his back was being such a bully, we prioritized what we thought would help.

We decided to start at the bottom….The feet!

His feet are a major disaster. He needs custom fitted foot orthotics to walk and his current orthotics are roughly 10 years old. Orthotics are not meant to last that long. Knowing he needed new orthotics and that aligning his feet could help better align everything, we started there.

To achieve new orthotics, he needed to see a specialist and then be referred to a special clinic that only makes orthotics and prosthetics. Sounds expensive.

Here are a few things I did to prepare for these expenses.

4 Simple tips to keep Medical Costs Down 

1. Do you need a referral to see a specialist? 

Many insurance companies will not cover specialist appointments if you do not first have a referral. Hubs knew he needed to see a podiatrist, but the insurance company may question him on it. Before going to a specialist, it is important to jump through the hoops the insurance company requires.

A quick call to the insurance company confirmed that he did not need a referral to see this doctor. This visit should be covered.

2. Make sure the provider is in-network.

Medical expenses are covered differently by your insurance depending on whether a provider is in-network or out-of-network. In-network will always be cheaper on your insurance. This often manifests in the difference between the maximum out-of-pocket costs for you, the insured. Medical bills can get really expensive really fast if you ignore what’s in-network. By making sure the providers you see are in-network, you’ll save a bundle.

Call the insurance company to verify that everyone you’ll be seeing is in-network.

3. Make sure the referral is in-network.

Knowing this was a two- step process: (1) Doctor then (2) Orthotic fitting, I waited to see who Hubs would be referred to to get his orthotics.  When we knew where he was supposed to go, I called the insurance company again.  Nearly painlessly, they confirmed the referral was in-network and we made the appointment.

4. Be Prepared by Estimating Costs

Medical bills are mysterious. Prices vary greatly depending on where you go. You may be able to talk to the clinic/hospital’s billing department to get an estimate. This sounds like it could be a major hassle. If you are deciding between two locations, this may be a good option. Otherwise, I just googled it to get a rough estimate.

Prior to any appointments, I looked up what I could for what it would be for an X-ray and orthotic fittings.

Ankle X-Ray Estimate: 300-1800

Orthotic Inserts Estimate: 400-800.

Total estimate: 700-2600…. Not very precise.

With an HSA, I was able to sock away as much as I could prior to the appointment so these bills didn’t knock us out. $700-$2600 is a huge range, but being prepared for some of it is better than for none of it.


Hubs got his orthotics today. He is going to need to ease into them, but everything seems good so far. What more could you ask for? Oh yea, a medical bill that came in UNDER budget. 🙂 🙂 🙂

After insurance adjustments, the x-ray cost $66.66 and the orthotics were $374.18. Grand Total: $440.84.  That’s $260 UNDER budget. I didn’t even know that was possible.

This, my friends, is a major win.


5 thoughts on “Feet, Feet, Feet: Medical Expenses Update

  1. Pingback: June 2014 Recap | Goodnight Debt.

  2. I’m glad you two didn’t put it off any longer – that’s a pretty major thing (body alignment) to wait 10 years on! And it isn’t even that bad considering… if you do that every three (?) years, it’s $150, the cost of a good pair of running shoes.

    • It seems silly now that we waited so long, especially for how relatively inexpensive they were. His insurance covers 1 pair/year, so I hope to get another pair next year. That way he won’t have to change them in and out of shoes. Now my next challenge is to get him to buy a good pair of shoes. His feet have always hurt so he sees spending extra on shoes to be a waste of money. Stubborn stubborn husband.

  3. Pingback: Celebrating Improved Habits | Goodnight Debt.

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