The cost of healthcare in the United States continues to increase year after year. Even if you have good health insurance, the out-of-pocket costs you incur can add up. To keep more money in your pocket, utilize these 7 ways to cut healthcare costs.
1. Choose the right health insurance plan
When picking your health insurance plan, consider the needs of yourself and your family. If you go with a higher premium, more of your costs will be covered. This is a better choice if you have chronic health issues and need regular medical care. If you don’t often need medical treatment, consider a plan with a higher deductible and lower premiums so you save more money each month.
2. Utilize an HSA or FSA
Your employer may offer Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) as part of their benefits. These accounts give you the ability to put aside pre-tax dollars specifically for health care expenses. You can then use these funds throughout the year for what would be out-of-pocket health care costs.
3. Use In-Network Healthcare Providers
Going to an out-of-network physician can be extremely costly. Use in-network physicians as often as you can to have lower health care costs. In-network providers have a contract with your health insurance company, providing you with lower rates.
4. Maximize Your Benefits
Taking advantage of primary care appointments can help catch a health problem earlier, allowing it to be treated easier and cheaper. You also may not have to pay a copay for health screenings, vaccines, and regular physicals.
Some insurance companies have case managers or health advocates. Health advocates can help you maximize your benefits to make sure you are getting the most out of your health insurance plan, reducing out-of-pocket costs. Case managers can help you manage your chronic health conditions.
Another perk of your benefits may include free or discounted services. This is most often fitness center reimbursements and other benefits to help you stay healthy.
5. Save Money On Medications
The costs of medications can quickly add up if you have a chronic health condition or get sick regularly.
See if you can switch to generic medications since they typically have the same active ingredients but cost less than name-brand drugs. Consult your health care provider before making the switch.
If you have medical conditions that require special treatment, ask your doctor if there is a less expensive treatment option that has the same effectiveness.
Take your prescription medications as directed. If you take your medications irregularly or incorrectly, it could lead to more serious health problems that require extra care.
6. Know What Requires Urgent Care and Emergency Care
If you experience illness or injury and need immediate care, you need to know if it requires a primary care visit, an urgent care visit, or an emergency room visit.
If you came down with a minor cold or sinus infection, a primary care visit should be fine.
If you have strep throat or infection, an urgent care visit should be sufficient to get treatment quickly.
If you have sustained a significant injury or have trouble breathing, you should go to the emergency room for care.
It is important to know what level of care illnesses and injuries require since the costs are vastly different for each one. You can save time and money by going to your primary care physician or urgent care. Emergency room visits are very costly and should only be used when completely necessary.
7. Take Care of Yourself
The best way to decrease health care costs is by staying healthy. A few easy ways to stay healthy include:
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting drinking alcohol
- Have a good diet with nutritious foods
- Prioritize sleep
Your primary care doctor can assist you in making these lifestyle changes to help you get healthy and stay healthy.
If you have questions about picking the best health insurance for you or budgeting for health care costs, our advisors at Lifebridge Financial Group are happy to help. We want you and your family to stay happy and healthy. Give us a call today to get started.