We’re in the midst of a healthcare cost crisis. And it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere soon. Each year, millions of people go without health insurance.

Often, this is because affordable plans have outrageous deductibles. Then, having insurance you can actually use, costs an arm and a leg. The average family plan costs almost half of the average annual American salary. How many families can afford that?

Not surprisingly, people are looking for lower-priced alternatives. And honestly, some may be better and more cost-effective than others. With these challenges in mind, let’s look at lower-cost alternatives to traditional healthcare.


1. Subscription Services

Subscription services connect you with a reliable network of virtually-available physicians. Through this alternative to traditional healthcare, you can save a lot of money on the same level of care.

They also often offer more transparent pricing than traditional care. So you know exactly what you’re paying for. This allows you to make smart money decisions when it comes to managing your health.

Maybe you have an established chronic condition that requires ongoing management. Or you don’t want to miss your annual checkups because you’re short on money. Either way, seeing an online doctor through these services can provide the answer.

2. Cost-Sharing Plans

Cost-sharing plans group individuals together. They then share their healthcare costs. Instead of one person getting a massive bill, the community supports each member by paying a portion. Often, these plans negotiate with doctors to get lower rates for their members, making this even more cost-effective.

It’s important to note that many such plans are built around an existing community. Some may be faith-based, non-profit-related, or career-specific. You may need to be a member of that group to join and may have to follow the group’s rules. But it’s certainly worth looking into whether this type of arrangement is available for you.

3. Prioritizing Everyday Health

“Healthcare” shouldn’t be something you only get when you go to a doctor. Healthcare is something you engage in every single day. You do so when you choose a health-promoting rather than a health-diminishing lifestyle.

First of all, your diet matters. What you eat and how much can significantly impact your overall health. Of course, there’s a lot of mixed information out there about what is and is not healthy in the nutrition world. But do your best. Learn what you can. Pay attention to how your body feels and what’s happening to it over time. Then adapt.

Getting sufficient physical activity is always a tried-and-true method for promoting health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity (fast walking) or 75 minutes of intense (running) during a week. To this, you should add some strength training.

The CDC also recommends actively working to maintain your flexibility as you age. Flexibility will keep you feeling younger longer. You’ll move around more easily and with less pain.

That said, it’s an admirable goal to not need traditional healthcare as an alternative to it. But it’s important to realize that you are likely to need some doctor-provided healthcare in your life. It’s important to explore other options as well.

4. Mental Emotional Self-Care

Mental health impacts physical health. So making sure you take care of yourself mentally and emotionally is a lower-cost alternative to some of the traditional healthcare you currently need.

At the very least, like many of these, it complements traditional healthcare. It makes that care more effective and can save you money on that care. Learning to manage stress, anger, fear, sadness, jealousy, and disappointment effectively can help you live a healthier, more balanced life.

Do you have medical conditions closely linked to mental health, like high blood pressure, early-stage dementia, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, or fibromyalgia? Prioritizing caring for yourself mentally and emotionally can impact the trajectory of your diagnosis.

5. Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine can certainly be considered a lower-cost alternative to traditional healthcare. However, the efficacy of treatments isn’t always clear. Many alternative treatments have been scientifically studied more extensively than you might think.

In well-performed studies, scientists have been unable to show many of these worked better than a placebo. Or they were much less effective than traditional medicines already available.

With that said, you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some alternative medicine treatments may be effective. They do have some anecdotal evidence that may suggest they work for some people.

Most, not all, of these “medicines” are probably harmless. However, some are the opposite of low cost. So, if you find yourself tempted to pay a lot of money for an alternative medicine treatment, realize that the scientifically-backed traditional treatment would probably be more effective.

6. Managing Chronic Conditions with Lifestyle Changes

This is certainly not to suggest you should stop seeing your doctor if you have a chronic condition. But let’s say you currently have a diagnosable chronic condition. When your online doctor says “there is no cure” for your condition, they mean that modern medicine doesn’t have a cure. They can’t just fix it with a pill.

Most medical providers recognize that you can impact the severity and existence of your condition’s symptoms. From hypertension to diabetes, you can reverse many medical conditions through lifestyle changes. If you’re struggling to afford medical care, this is certainly a route you can take to reduce your need for some of the more expensive medical treatments associated with your condition.

As always, you should always speak with your doctor before reducing or stopping any prescribed medicines or treatments.

Finding Lower-Cost Alternatives to Traditional Healthcare

When faced with outrageous healthcare costs, it pays to shop around for alternatives to traditional healthcare. You do have options. You shouldn’t have to settle for overpriced, less-than-transparent healthcare.

From online doctors to taking better care of yourself to reducing trips to the doctor, these are some viable considerations.