Chronic illness

These apps could save you money on health care

It’s hard to know which health-related apps are worth your time—especially with more than 325,000 to choose from, according to the mHealth App Developer Economics 2017 report.

To help, we sorted through reviews and health tech resources to locate a few apps that could save you money on health care costs. Most are free. All of them have high ratings from users.

Apps for finding fair prices

Healthcare Bluebook app free

health-related apps

As its name suggests, this app tells you the fair price in your zip code for medical, vision and dental procedures, tests, equipment, labs, X-rays, medications and even certain physician visits. Because prices are known to vary widely from one facility or provider to another, you can quickly locate the fair price and refer to it while shopping around. You can also use the tool to negotiate lower prices after receiving a bill that doesn’t fall in the fair pricing range. Healthcarebluebook.com offers the same tool with slightly better functionality and Spanish translation.

Fair Health Cost Lookup – free

fair health app logo

This app provides the same basic information as Healthcare Bluebook, but also offers a Spanish version. Additionally, it allows you to estimate insurance coverage, and provides basic educational resources to help you understand your insurance coverage and billing better. Even more informational content can be found on fairhealthconsumer.org.

Prescription discount apps

GoodRx – free

goodrx app logo

GoodRx is a search engine for drug costs to help you find drug prices, coupons or prescription assistance information near you. You enter your zip code and prescription and the search results show nearby pharmacy discounts. When you choose one, you’ll get a coupon you can show your pharmacist. You can find Medicare coverage information as well.

Keep in mind that drug discounts can rarely be used with insurance. While for common drugs, the discounts could be cheaper than your copay, the purchase won’t count toward your insurance deductible.

Whether you use the discounts or not, having the app means you can search a medication on your phone the moment your provider suggests it. If it isn’t covered or you can’t afford it, you can discuss it right then and find out if there’s a comparable alternative. Read a review here.

Medical professionals can use the provider version to locate and send coupons to patients.

Hippo, Blink Health and others – free

hippo health-related app logo

A number of other drug discount apps exist, and no single app appears to find the lowest prices consistently (see comparisons here, here and here). You might want to download a few, or visit their websites, before purchasing.

Hippo and Blink Health do, however, add an extra step: allowing you to purchase the drug online to pick up at a nearby pharmacy.

Others include: RetailMeNot Rx Saver, SingleCare, ScriptSave, OneRx and NeedyMeds’ Drug Discount Card app.

Apps that help organize

Apps that can store medical records aren’t directly cost saving, but they can help you avoid paying to print them. And keeping track of medications and health progress in one place may also help you avoid costly errors, unnecessary tests or misdiagnoses.

iBlueButton – free (but includes in-app offers)

ibluebutton app logo

iBlueButton is a record keeper for Medicare beneficiaries. The idea behind it is that people (and Medicare) will save money on health procedures by keeping medical records all in one place because Medicare beneficiaries tend to see a higher number of care providers who don’t necessarily talk to each other.

FollowMyHealth – free

follow my health app logo

FollowMyHealth simplifies organizing medical information. Once you set up an account and fill in all of your information (which can take awhile, according to reviews) you can order medications through the app, contact your medical offices, access and store health records and test results, rearrange appointments and take notes related to your health. Watch a video walk through here. (The reviews for the Android version of this app are a bit higher than the iOS version.)

If you have an iPhone, keep an eye on Health Records. Apple intends to expand the app to help you avoid health record acquisition fees.

Facility apps

Do you visit the same hospital system for most of your care appointments? Search your app store to see if it has an app. Many major hospital systems have decent apps that allow you to access and save your own records, take notes on appointments, contact your provider and even navigate you around large campuses. Johns Hopkins Medicine has MyChart, for example.

Help with out-of-network claims

Better – 10 percent commission

better app logo

Out-of-network health care coverage can be hard to navigate. Better is an app-based service that reviews out-of-network medical bills to find out what your insurance can cover. They process claims for any kind of health care visit on your behalf. You use your phone camera to take photos of your bills and their staff does the work for you.  They find and correct coding errors, file claims and follow up with your insurance to ensure you are paid back correctly. But take note—they charge 10 percent of any money you get back. 

Help reviewing all medical bills

CoPatient – Subscriptions run from $19.99 to 49.99 per month plus 20-35 percent commission

copatient logo

Many medical bills include errors that most people will never notice. CoPatient will find them for you for a fee if you upload your bills. They can also negotiate the bills on your behalf for a commission. If you want to avoid the extra commission charge, they also offer tips for how to negotiate the bills yourself.

You can find more resources on negotiating medical bills from Medical Billing Advocates of America.

New apps

Companies add new apps every day and the health care market has a lot of room for useful startups. Keep an eye on new ones by regularly checking something like ProductHunt, iMedicalApps or Betalist.

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