Protect Yourself from Rising Healthcare Costs
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.
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.
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.
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.