Have you ever experienced being admitted to a hospital because of your illness and your eyes bulge when you see the expensive medical bills that you have to pay for and you don’t have enough money to pay it? There is a saying that when we are young, we work too hard and trade our time and health for money. Then when we are old, we trade our money to hopefully gain back some health.

This is so true because there are so many old folks who save hard and put the money in the bank but the interest earned is barely enough to cover the medical cost inflation.

Nowadays, many people had realized the high cost of being hospitalized. When medical fees keep escalating, more people are aware and seek for medical insurance coverage. So the first step towards cutting medical expenses is to get insured, while you are still qualified to apply for total coverage.

1.Get insured with Hospitalization & Surgical benefit

I explained about medical insurance before. Refer the video for a very simple and easy to comprehend presentation. Or, you can find out more about medical insurance that suitable for you here.

Utmost, personal health should be one’s top most priority. You can’t go to work if you are having a high fever, right? Because if you do, you won’t be that productive compared if you are on your normal state.

In the past, I’ve met several MLM or direct salespersons who normally sell all kind of health product. Once they know that I’m an insurance agent, they almost always pitch the idea that when you eat healthily and take good care of your body, you’ll never get sick. Therefore, there is no need to buy medical insurance.

This statement may have some truth in it although some insurance agents may get offended by the whole idea of stay healthy and throw away your “medical card”. So the second obvious tips on cutting medical bills is to live a healthy lifestyle!

2.Eat organic food, workout regularly, and take care of your personal hygiene and your home’s cleanliness to have a healthy lifestyle, therefore a healthy body.

However, if you are too late to get insured, or your health is already depleted in some way, don’t be panic. There are still more tips coming up that may save your hospital bills. Just in case you are hospitalized (touch wood) due to unforeseen circumstances, here are more tips that could get you going.

3. Have your previous test report ready and decline other unnecessary “add-on”

First things first, for you to lessen the cost of your medical bills, you have to have your updated previous test results for your health with you. If the test was taken days ago, then you could bring that when you want to be admitted on a hospital. These previous results that you have could lessen your cost since you will not take some tests because they are going to refer the results on what you have. But bear in mind that not all previous results is helpful when you want to cut costs. Some tests need to be taken anew to provide you progress or update on your current health and for them to find out if there is anything wrong with your present health.

Another thing to remember when you want to prevent necessary costs is that, when you have a hospital room, you can always decline offers of having a television set on your room or a fridge there to be put, or any additional appliance or room ornaments that add up to your costs. By doing these things, you can start saving your costs though it may seem to be small but at least you started it.

If you have already chosen a hospital room for you to be in and you have already taken the necessary tests for you, having the right doctor and being admitted on a good time is the next thing that you need to consider.

4. Consult a practitioner rather than a specialist

We cannot predict when or where we are going to get sick. We always have to take good care of ourselves for us to avoid being in the hospital for any extensive treatment and for us to avoid any expensive hospital costs. But there really is a time that you can’t stand the pain or illness that you have and you really need to go to a hospital for treatment. In finding a doctor, for you to cut costs, you can consult a general practitioner rather than a specialist. Why? It’s because general practitioners are more affordable than those specialists. Payments for specialists for consultations are half more expensive than that of general practitioners. See how much you can already save when you meet for a doctor?

But you should always go to the general practitioners that you trust. If not, sometimes you may end up paying even more when your first visit is not fruitful. You may still need to visit the specialist later.

Another thing that you can keep in mind is the time that you are admitted. There are certain times in the calendar that medical costs would raise and you would have to pay an expensive bill. But you don’t always have to keep the pain in and wait until the time that costs are cheaper. It is your health still and you should always take care of it.

5. Always request for the itemized billing statement

Be clever. Since you want to invest more on your health, you have to know everything that you pay for in the hospital. That is why you need to request the hospital to provide you detailed information on your medical bill. From the cotton ball that was used down to the drug that was administered, everything in the hospital is paid.

As a clever and knowledgeable customer, since a hospital is a service and at the same time a business, know what you really are paying for. Though mistakes unusually happen on the breakdown of your medical bills, still, you can always double check it.

6. Ask for discount – from doctors and also from hospitals

Another good tip that you can adhere to if you want to save on your medical bills, is that you can ask for discounts. Hospitals could give you discounts but not all people can truly avail of this kind of service that they provide. It would now be based on the situation that you are in, in terms of the financial aspect.

For you to be able to have this discount, the hospital may ask you to procure any proof of your salary so that they could estimate if your income is suitable for a discount or not. It is all based on the income that you have. If you have a fairly low income, the hospital could grant you the discount or another way for you to pay is by installment. Meaning, you will pay a percentage of the total amount of the hospital bill for the meantime for you to be released and you will pay the remainder of the amount on the latter, depending on the agreement that the hospital provided you to abide for.

If the hospital cannot provide you with a discount then you can always ask for the approximated amount that you need to pay for the entire duration of the treatment. This is usually done by customers who have a tight budget for and they could allot money for the medical bills since they already know how much it would cost. You can always ask for how much it would cost all-in-all even if the treatment hasn’t started yet.

Beside asking discount from the financial department or billing department of the hospitals, you can also ask for discount from the doctors who treat you. Get enough sympathy, and the doctor will write off some consultation fees, or procedure charge.

7. There are cheaper options of generic drug.

If your intention is to have a good health and keep your pockets intact, then you can consider this next tip. When choosing the medications that you need to buy, you can always find out choices from generic medications. These kinds of drugs in terms of cost may be cheaper compared to those branded drugs which go half or three quarters more expensive than that of generic drugs.

Also, you need to know that the payment that you pay for those branded drugs may include the branding cost of the company. Generic drugs may have the same quality as to patented drugs in terms of the effects of the medicine. It is usually similar in terms of the pharmaceutical components of both. Another one is in terms of its potency and effectiveness as a drug, though generic ones are cheaper in costs, some of them still give you the same effects like that of those branded ones.

If you can find generic and cheaper  drugs instead of patented ones, you may save lots of money and at the same time, cure yourself of the illness that you have. Anyway, you shouldn’t be mislead that all generic drugs are as good as the “branded” drugs.

Warning: Always seek advise from medical professional and pharmacist before taking on any drug.

Here is a reminder by CKK

Update by CKK:

Recall back the Pharmaniaga scandal where the generic manufacturer was clampdown by the authority which found out their factory was in a mess and expired drugs were mixed up with new stocks!

There are many other cases of abuse and shoddy generic manufacturers dishing out sub-quality drugs out of their factories. Ask a medical doctor treating life-threatening diseases like organ rejections, systemic infections etc and they will tell you the problems with generic drugs (ineffective). If you want to die fast, go cheap and go generic.

8. Get help from your employer.

If you are working in a company, you can always have them to help you shoulder some of the bills for your hospitalization, especially if the injury or the incident that happened to you is work-related.

Companies nowadays, offer their employees and potential employees health benefits. Since the industry of commerce puts you into stress you might consider your company helping you for your bills.

Some companies provide free annual checkups and other tests like physical tests, reproductive tests, and drug tests. Also, companies now offer extended medical services for your children or your other halves. Be wise to know what your company offers you so that you could have an advantage in taking care of your medical budget and your health as well. Ask your manager or go to the HR officer to find out about the medical terms and coverage that your office could help you to.

Health is very important for us. By following the tips mentioned, you can now be wise enough and be resourceful for in order to not only save on our medical bills but at the same time, have a healthy and productive life.


Personal finance author and trainer

    31 replies to "How not to worry about medical expenses, and minimize your hospital bills"

    • TEE

      This is such a good and most practical article that I see.Besides,in comments that the donation blood can get such a certificates,me really first time see and heard.My body is weak,cannot contribute my blood to our country . >.<

      I would like to share some my own experience about the medical bills too.
      In general for my experience ,private hospital was offer a better medical environment and efficiency toward patients like us. Government hospital also offer the same just not as better as private hospital.Don't worry too much,I get the scanning or checking in private hospital,then transfer to government hospital to take surgery.

      You have to see the most expensive part in whole medical bills ,then make the best choice to balance and take care your money budget and also your healthy.

      Cheers.Let us have a healthy day. !

    • Eunice

      Your webpage written as below:

      One lucky winner will be announced after 21st August to receive this book – The Rules of Wealth by Richard Templar.

      Is this mean 2012?
      Please confirm.

      • KCLau

        HI Eunice,
        The book had been given away to the lucky winner.
        Stay tuned for my future email to get notified whenever there is a giveaway.
        Thanks for asking.

    • elle

      online, everyone said they are insured..face to face with an insurance agent, they also said they are insured..infact, only 14% malaysians are insured with medical card..so, 24million people are accessing the public hospitals..thats alot to handle for public hospitals! when i am sick, i seriously dont want to think about the hospital bills, i just want the best treatment to recover..so, im being honest here, i am 30yrs old, i do not yet have a medical card, im a smoker, and im afraid to declare bankrupt when im sick

    • CC

      Refering to point no. 7. Being a non-medical professional, you are not qualified and not suppose to make such irresponsible comments on the generic medicine being equal to branded medicine. Medical doctor should be the best person to advise if the patients need to be put on original drug in order to keep them in best medical condition. Many doctors will be able to tell you about the differences in efficacy of generic vs original drugs, thus do not mislead your readers.

      • KCLau

        Hi CC,
        You are right. Thanks for the constructive comment.

    • BY

      Go to donate blood while you still young and healthy. This not only can helps people but yourself too. Take a look on the back of your blood donation certificate, for example those have donated blood 11-15 times, they can enjoy free 2 years outpatient treatment plus free medicine and class 2 wad for one year. The maximum is free 10 years medical treatment (with more than 50 times blood donation). This is far more than enough for any serious illness/disease (in my personal opinion).

      I myself have investment linked insurance with medical card but i still go to donate blood every 3 months. And now i have donated 4 times that entitle me free Hepatitis B vaccination, free outpatient treatment and medicine/class 2 wad for 4 months. I still keep doing it while i am afford to do so. Who know one day i have to give up my medical card due to financial trouble but at least i have the backup plan.

      • KCLau

        This is really great information.
        Do you mean donate blood at general hospital only?

        • BY

          Both government and private hospital will ask blood donor to present their own record book for them to record down information such as date, amount of blood you donated and hospital that will keeps it.

          Every donation count, so lets us do it starts from now…Don’t wait and be sorry later.

    • kamal

      When it comes to medical cards, many seem to think since they are covered by their company .. why bother? But then one should remember, you’re not always gonna be there .. the company isn’t always gonna be there. So, its better to take such card while you’re younger since the premium is cheaper

    • ROJAK

      thanks for sharing this 🙂

    • Ben

      I would suggest you visit our local government clinics (Poliklinik) to have your checkups. The fees are minimal. If you need to be admitted into a Private Hospital, try your very best not to let them know you have a medical card. Otherwise, you’ll be going through all those unnecessary checkups and recommendations just to max out your entitlement. Worst if they’ll try to give the most expensive option and medicine that will make you feeling worst then before you see them. Believe me, I’ve friends been through it and they ended up going to other Specialist or Singapore for a simple procedure..

    • Oo Wai Shen

      This is great! Really learn of a lot of saving tips in this article. Thx a lot! In my opinion, I think getting insured in the best option among these because we r not god. We really cant predict what will happen in next minute.

    • Janet Low

      Remember, you don’t get admitted to hospital because of sickness.

      It can be due to accidents. So even though your are healthy, you still need a medical card.

      • KCLau

        That’s true. Sickness is just a major cause of hospitalization. Accident is another cause that’s out of our control sometimes.

        • YH

          after my angioplasty, I have to take the blood thinner drug called Plavix daily, the original cost is about 10 ringgit per tablet. After consulting my cardiologist about generic equivalent , he provided me with a brand that I can buy and cost about 50% less. Thus I believed that not all generic are bad, there are generic drugs that are reputable and if endorsed by the specialist , then it is ok to take it as alternative to save cost.

    • Shamsul

      In pursue of wealth, sometime people neglect their health. Then their wealth is used to keep their health. Thus, health first, then wealth.

    • ckk

      It’s very malicious and irresponsible for you to mislead readers into thinking all generic drugs have the same efficacy as originals. Recall back the Pharmaniaga scandal where the generic manufacturer was clampdown by the authority which found out their factory was in a mess and expired drugs were mixed up with new stocks!

      There are many other cases of abuse and shoddy generic manufacturers dishing out sub-quality drugs out of their factories. Ask a medical doctor treating life-threatening diseases like organ rejections, systemic infections etc and they will tell you the problems with generic drugs (ineffective). If you want to die fast, go cheap and go generic.

      • KCLau

        Thanks CCK for the reminder. I updated the post with your comment.

    • zaidi abdullah

      valuable info.. luckily i’ve prepared myself with medical card and eat healthy food even i’m just 25.

    • kamil

      Prevention is better ,so have a healthy lifestyle,and have some medical insurance!

    • Michael Tsen

      General Hospital is not the ‘worst’ or ‘poor’ choice, it is the ‘first basic’ choice. Your choice goes up the rank as your income grows. Likewise when you lost your income, you come back to ‘first basic’ choice.

      GH has 2 advantages, its medicine is top notch, not guinea pig and not profit oriented. Equipment is also top notch sometimes. Like any other place, once you get to know GH, you can get services just like those private ones – both good and bad perspectives.

      In addition to GH, I live everyday as if I will die tomorrow. So if things happen, I can also choose not to be cured.

      • KCLau


        I definitely agree of your saying that GH is the first basic choice.
        People just “upgrade” from the basic stuff that we already have. It happens in all area of our lives.

    • Ram

      Its a nicely said.

    • Ah Hoong

      For your info, the most economical will be public hospital. I do agree that public hospital takes time to queue and process. But these is how the low income level plp is doing. I myself had experienced this few times even though I am insured. Bear in mind private hospital everything is $ oriented as compared to public hospital.

      • KCLau

        Yes. The worst case in Malaysia, we can still go to the government hospital.

    • Chris

      Why would you want to be held ransom by a system that makes you work very hard so that such service providers can enrich themselves at your expense?
      First, they restrict the free flow of talents in this area to some of their own, stifling the whole nation.
      Then they impose restrictions on others from practicing.
      On top of that, they make rules to restrict access to commonly used drugs so as to charge high prices.
      Then they tell you it at your death bed, “This IS the price, you want or not?”
      Now they hatched this scheme, YOU should GROW your $$ and pay to us!

      Thank you.

    • Anutta

      Thanks KC!
      Very informative sharing. Remember, “prevent better than cure”.
      Have a nice day!

    • ranjit singh

      Very useful, thank u, sir.

    • Lau KG

      Your idea is very useful for all especially those do not have the medical coverage person. Thank you very much.

    • Allan

      Great article!

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