Healthcare prices in the United States are increasing quickly and becoming more unaffordable. I was reminded of this recently when my family experienced a health scare that resulted in a multi-day hospitalization. Luckily, everything worked out well in the end, but there are millions of people out there with a fragile safety net and one large healthcare bill can disrupt their lives for a long time. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to save money on healthcare costs. Here are some of the best ones.
1. Review Your Health Care Options Carefully
Different companies offer different types of health care plans and these plans often have multiple tiers to choose from. Choosing the best plan available for your particular situation can save you a lot of money when you need to use your benefits. If you or a family member that will be covered under the plan has a chronic health condition or needs medical treatments frequently, then a health care plan with a higher premium, a lower deductible, and more coverage may be the best option. If you are younger and do not have any health issues, choosing a plan with a lower premium and higher deductible means less money taken out of each paycheck.
2. Take Advantage of Health Care Discounts
Insurance companies have built many healthcare discounts into their healthcare plans, but you can only take advantage of these discounts if you know about them. One of the most well-known discounts is the one you get from going to a provider that is considered in-network by the insurance company. These healthcare providers have made a deal with the insurance company to provide specific services at specific rates that are typically lower than the cost charged by out-of-network providers. Other discounts may include free health screenings, free or discounted wellness services, free or discounted gym memberships, and other offerings.
3. Use Health Care Savings Accounts or Flexible Spending Accounts for Health Care Costs
Many companies allow their employees to put away pre-tax income in a Health Care Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to pay for medical costs throughout the year. These accounts can be used for a wide range of health care needs, from health care plan deductibles to needed medications. It is important to know that the money in an FSA must be used within the calendar year and cannot be transferred when you change employers. The money in an HSA earns interest over time and can be used with a new employer without interruption.
4. Be Smart When Buying Medications
There are many different ways to save money on medications. Choosing generic prescriptions and store-brand, over-the-counter medications is one way to save. Buying a 90-day supply by mail instead of a 30-day supply from the pharmacy can also cost you less over time. You may even be able to switch to a lower-cost medication with the recommendation of your doctor, so don’t be afraid to ask about switching to a cheaper alternative.
How have you saved money on health care this year? Give us your tips in the comments below.
Toi Williams began her writing career in 2003 as a copywriter and editor and has authored hundreds of articles on numerous topics for a wide variety of companies. During her professional experience in the fields of Finance, Real Estate, and Law, she has obtained a broad understanding of these industries and brings this knowledge to her work as a writer.