1.) Use an independent lab. You don't have to have your blood drawn at the doctor's office. If you need blood tests (if not an emergency) you can have blood drawn at an outside lab for a fraction of the cost.
2.) Compare costs. Consumer websites exist which compare costs of medical imaging. Sites such as http://www.saveonmedical.com allow consumers to compare compare costs in their area.
3.) Ask what it costs. It's your right to know how much you will be charged for a medical procedure. Studies have shown doctors make different decisions when they consider the financial burden on patients. More tests do not equal better health.
4.) Ask if it's necessary. Doctors aren't perfect and may order labs and imaging that are not necessary. Nearly $12 billion dollars of testing is unnecessarily performed in the United States annually.
5.) Find a doctor you are compatible with. Doctors often practice 'defensive medicine' because they are afraid of being sued, more so with patients they do not know well. A trusting, honest relationship with your doctor can help avoid unnecessary tests.
6.) Use the emergency room only for emergencies. The Emergency Room is called that for a reason, it's for emergencies, not colds and sniffles. An ER visit can cost nearly five times that of a regular doctor's or Urgent Care visit. Insurance companies often cover less of the bill of an emergency visit that a regular doctor.
7.) Take generic medications. That name brand is expensive. Nearly 98% of all pharmacists and doctors use generic drugs because they are equally as effective at a fraction of the price. Tylenol or acetaminophen? The only difference is Tylenol costs $22 dollars for 325 pills and acetaminophen costs $10.50 for 500 pills.