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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Cutting Health Care Costs: Doctor Visits

11 Tips on Curbing Your Personal Spending on Doctor Visits and Medical Tests

8. Don't dismiss your symptoms.

Of course, you should seek immediate care for possible heart attack symptoms or stroke symptoms. Time can also count for symptoms that don't seem immediately threatening, like new breast lumps or skin changes.

"I had a patient recently who noticed a mole changing and he decided to wait until he had other things going on [to see a doctor]. It turned out to be eight months, and he had large basal cell cancer above his nose next to his eye," Goldstein says.

Goldstein also knows of an elementary school teacher who didn't seek medical care for her headaches because she didn't have health insurance. "Two weeks later, she had a ruptured brain aneurysm and died in her 40s," he says. "That's just incredibly tragic."

9. Don't go to the emergency room for problems that aren't emergencies.

Because emergency rooms are overwhelmed, you may wait hours to be seen. And if you're paying out of pocket, you could wind up with "a bill of $400-$500, which you will be responsible for," Goldstein says.

Overcrowding in emergency rooms can also make it harder to deliver emergency care when it's truly needed, he says.

10. Don't skip your flu shot.

"That would be such a small cost compared to such a large potential benefit of not getting flu and the costs associated with those medicines," Goldstein says.

Getting a yearly flu shot is the single best way to prevent flu, according to the CDC.

Of course, adults need other vaccines, too -- and as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

11. Don't leave money in your flexible spending account (FSA).

Dec. 31 is right around the corner, so Joel Zive, PharmD, vice president of Zive Pharmacy in the Bronx, N.Y. and spokesman of the American Pharmacists Association, reminds you not to leave money in your FSA.

If you have an FSA to help cover your medical costs, it's "use it or lose it" -- you have to use that money by year's end or it's gone for good.

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