From the rising costs of health insurance premiums to high copayments and deductibles, seeing the doctor has never been more expensive. Whether you get your health insurance through your employer or buy it on your own, the costs are going nowhere but up.

In this high-cost environment, ordinary consumers need to be proactive about their health care spending. They may not be able to lower premiums on their own, but there are things they can do to lower their costs going forward. Here are 10 smart ways listed by Affordable Healthcare 123 Tees, to reduce the high cost of health care and take control of your health care spending.

1. Opt for old-line generic drugs where feasible. New medications are always coming to market, but that does not mean that older and cheaper drugs no longer work. Talk to your doctor about older and less expensive medications with a lengthy track record of success.

2. Ask about alternative testing facilities; whether you need a blood test, a flu shot or an x-ray, where you go matters. The cost of a simple x-ray could vary by as much as 300% depending on the testing facility, so talk to your doctor about prices and possibly changing venues.

3. Research preferred laboratories. Check your insurer's network, talk to your provider and stick to preferred testing laboratories. You could pay far less in copays, save the insurance company money and hopefully keep your premiums low.

4. Use urgent care for off-hours health problems. Your doctor should be your first choice, but when their office is closed, an urgent care facility is likely your best healthcare value. If you have a life-threatening emergency, you should call an ambulance, but for runny noses, twisted ankles, and suspected flu cases, urgent care is usually your best after-hours choice.

5. Take advantage of health fairs. Health fairs and community events are great places to get low-cost screenings for cholesterol, blood sugar, weight, body fat, and other issues. If there is a problem, you can follow up with your doctor. If not, you can go forward with peace of mind - and more money in your wallet.

6. Research your telemedicine options. Modern technology means a doctor could be as close as your smartphone. Ask your insurance company or employer about their telemedicine options - and use these high-tech tools for real-time medical advice and guidance.

7. Ask about a cash discount. If you lack insurance, ask your doctor about a cash discount. Providers do not like dealing with insurance companies either, and they may be willing to accept a smaller payment in exchange for less hassle.

8. Try lifestyle changes to address your health concerns. From diabetes to high blood pressure, many chronic medical problems respond favorably to changes in lifestyle. Whether it is losing weight, reducing sodium or eating a healthier diet, there are things you can do to improve your health and lower your health care costs.

9. Open a health savings account. If you are eligible for a health savings account, opening one could save you money and lower your tax bill. The money you put into a health savings account is tax deductible, and you can use the funds to pay eligible health care expenses. Best of all, the money rolls over from year to year, so you do not have to use it all or risk losing it.

10. Use online tools to find the lowest drug prices. Whether you need a bottle of aspirin or a costly prescription, some sites will point you to the lowest cost providers. Using these could save you hundreds of dollars a year, so grab your smartphone and do your homework.

The cost of healthcare is not likely to go down anytime soon. If you want to control your health care costs, you need to take a proactive approach, seeking out creative ways to save, talking to your doctors and providers and taking advantage of technological tools to keep more money in your pocket.

About Affordable Healthcare 123 Tees:

At a political rally in Sacramento, Sarah Williams made a custom tee-shirt based around a simple belief—healthcare should be as affordable as clothing. Her belief has blossomed into apparel company Affordable Healthcare 123, dedicated to helping bring medical care to all Americans one shirt at a time.

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