With the ever-changing health care coverage in today’s world, it’s more important than ever that we as citizens learn how to save money on health care costs. Rising prescription drug costs and higher co-pays in the medical world mean more money out of the pockets of most citizens.
There are ways, however, that we as citizens can help minimize the amount of dollars that leave our pockets for health care costs. Today I’ll share six ways you can save money on health care costs yet still provide for a healthier you.
Save Money on Health Care Costs by Opening a FSA
A medical expense FSA, or “flexible spending account”, allows you to take pre-tax dollars from your paycheck and set it aside to cover medical expenses for the year. This allows you to save money that you use for medical expenses from being taxed, and it makes your net income lower as well. The caveat, though, is that any FSA funds that you put aside that are not used during the calendar year in which they were deducted from your paycheck “disappear” at year’s end.
If you choose to utilize the benefits of a medical expense FSA in order to save money on health care costs, make sure to estimate the amount of money you’ll need conservatively so you don’t lose that money altogether at year end if it’s not needed. (Editor’s note…something very similar can be done through an HSA, which my family has. I believe it’s one of the best ways to save money on healthcare costs. The tax savings aren’t too bad either.)
Be Choosy About Doctor Visits
It’s wise to see a doctor when you have concerns about your health, however, many people make trips to the doctor for things that are unnecessary, such as for a mild cold or the occasional bout of constipation. Making unnecessary trips to the doctor costs you money that might not need to be spent.
If you’re unsure about whether or not you need a doctor visit, call your doctor’s office nurse triage line and ask to speak to a triage nurse, who can properly assess whether or not a visit to the doctor is needed.
Talk to Your Doctor About Reducing Co-Pay Bills
A friend of mine recently found out that, as of January 1st, one of the prescription drugs she needs for a family member increased their patient co-pay up to $850 per month, and this is with good insurance! Unable to pay that kind of money, she called her doctor and asked if there was another medicine that will do the same job and cost less. Her doctor did his research and switched the family member to a drug that did the same job, but has a copay of $125 as opposed to $850 each month.
When choosing medical tests and necessary prescription drugs, be sure to ask about co-pays and also have your doctor check and see if there are less expensive alternatives, thereby putting more money into your pocket each month and spending less on medical care when a quality alternative is available.
Study after study has proven that a healthy, whole foods diet that minimizes consumption of processed foods and high-sugar foods can do a great job at not only maintaining your health, but improving your health as well. Diseases such as Type II Diabetes and Heart Disease can often be controlled with a diet that is high in vegetables and fruits, and low in unhealthy fats and processed grains.
Educate yourself on what particular types of foods do to the human body, learn how to make healthy meals to eat, and work to do what you can to improve your health through a clean diet.
Exercise, even in small doses, goes a long way in maintaining and increasing good health. Even low-impact exercises such as stretching, Pilates, yoga and swimming are wonderfully beneficial to the human body. Make a commitment to get moving, even if it’s as simple as parking further away from the door, doing simple stretches each day or taking the stairs as opposed to the elevator.
All of these health improvement techniques add up to a healthier you, and create a potential breeding ground for lower medical care costs. Don’t give in to the belief either that you need to have a high priced gym membership to work out either as there are many ways you can get fit at home that cost little to nothing.
Never Settle for Subpar Care
While this may seem like an anti-money-saving tip, the truth is that settling for subpar care and medicines might actually lead to worse health and increased health care costs. While subpar care might save you money initially, it has the potential to cost much more money in the long run. Your health is precious. Never settle for anything less than great medical care by your medical care provider.
Even with rising health care costs, we do have some control over how much we spend on health care. Choose to educate yourself on what it means to improve your health and cut costs where you can on health care without compromising your health. Your body will be healthier, and your savings account, will be healthier too.
What do you do in order to save money on health care costs? Do you have access to and save money in a FSA or HSA? How do you balance saving money without giving up on quality care?
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