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Protect Yourself from Rising Healthcare Costs

Protect Yourself from Rising Healthcare Costs
Linsay Thomas

With the Affordable Care Act in place, Americans are being forced to buy health insurance. Although insurance often covers a large portion of the costs, it doesn’t cover everything. These out-of-pocket costs can come as a shock to consumers who already pay high premiums. In fact, most bankruptcies in the United States – about two million a year - are due to debt caused by medical bills. Don’t want to be a statistic? Follow these tips to save on your family’s healthcare costs.

Take Care of YourselfDoctor

One of the best ways to reduce your healthcare costs is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise daily and avoid smoking. Eat a well-balanced diet and avoid becoming overweight. Adequate sleep is also important, so aim for 7-8 hours a night.

Predict the Level of Care You’ll Need

Obviously, anyone can become suddenly ill at any time, but if you can gauge your current health, you can purchase a healthcare plan that fits your needs. For example, if you have a chronic condition, you will likely want a plan with higher premiums but a lower deductible so you pay less out of pocket. On the other hand, if you are generally healthy and visit your doctor only once or twice a year, then a high-deductible plan will lower your monthly premiums.

Save on Prescriptions

Brand-name medications are significantly overpriced. You can often get the same results from a generic alternative, so ask your doctor about using generic brands if possible. Many generic prescriptions cost only a few dollars and you’re getting the same active ingredients.

Don’t Scrimp on Preventative Care

Most insurance plans cover physicals at 100%, so see your doctor at least once a year. It’s free and it could save you thousands of dollars down the road.

Follow Doctor’s Orders

Your doctor knows best. If he tells you to do something, such as rest after a procedure or take a specific dosage of medicine, make sure you do it. Failure to listen to directions could result in more medical bills.

Take Advantage of Your Employer’s FSAdoctors office

A flexible spending account allows you to put money aside for medical expenses throughout the year. This lowers your tax liability because you use pre-tax dollars for the account. However, if you don’t use all the money by the end of the year, you lose it.

Examine Your Bills

Got a huge bill for that lab work? Before you write that check, review the bill thoroughly. A whopping 80% of medical bills contain mistakes. Perhaps your insurance company was not billed or you were charged for a procedure that was never performed. If something seems suspicious, clarify it with the doctor’s office first.

Just Ask!

Are times tough financially? Ask your doctor for a discount on a procedure. The odds are in your favor – more than 60% of patients who ask for a break actually get one. This is especially true if you offer to pay in cash. Even if you have insurance, you’ll often get a better deal by paying cash up front than if your doctor submits a claim to your insurer.

By following these tips, you can easily save money on medical expenses – without sacrificing your health.

 

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