10 Ways to Save Money on Healthcare Expenses

Healthcare Expenses

If you experience sticker shock every time you go to the doctor or fill a prescription at the local pharmacy, you are not alone. The price of healthcare has been on the rise, with costs for everything from lifesaving prescription medications to much needed specialist visits increasing steadily. In such an environment, it is easy to think you have to choose between your physical and financial health, but with the right planning and preparation you can have both. Here are 10 simple ways to slash the cost of staying healthy.

1. Consider a high deductible health plan. It may seem counterintuitive, but a high deductible health plan could actually save you money. If your expenses are relatively stable, the lower premiums on an HDHP could end up saving you thousands of dollars in lower premiums.

2. Open a health savings account. Contributing to a health savings account (HSA) is a great way to reduce your tax bill while putting money aside for unexpected or unpredictable expenses.

3. Ask your employer about flexible spending accounts. If your employer offers a flexible spending account, you can use pre-tax money to pay for things like over the counter medications, first aid supplies and other household necessities.

4. Use your health insurance allowance to pay for over the counter medications and supplies. Many health insurers provide quarterly allowances for the purchase of things like over the counter pain relievers, bandages and even things like heating pads and blood pressure monitors. Using that allowance instead of buying retail could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

5. Choose generics whenever you can. From over the counter pain relievers to prescription drugs, generics are far less costly than their brand name counterparts. Choosing generics is a great way to get the relief you need while still saving money.

6. Talk to your doctor about less costly alternatives. If your doctor prescribes a medication with a hefty price tag, ask about older, more proven and less costly alternatives. Some older medications are just as effective, or even more so, than the latest pills the pharmaceutical reps are touting.

7. Take steps to stay healthy. Taking care of your own health is one of the best ways to save money on your future health care costs, so do what you can to exercise, eat well and monitor your own health.

8. Take preventative screenings seriously. Putting off mammograms, colonoscopies, PSA tests and other preventative screenings could be costly in terms of both good health and good finances so get screened and take advantage of early detection.

9. Review your health insurer’s network. If you want to avoid unpleasant surprises, make sure your doctors and specialists participate in the network before you make your next appointment. Those networks can change from time to time, so make the call and make sure.

10. Ask about telemedicine. Seeing your doctor virtually for routine care and simple questions can be far less costly than seeing them face to face. Ask your provider, and your health insurance company, about teleheatlh visits and how they can save you money.

Battling the high cost of health care has become more difficult in recent years, with rising premiums for health insurance and continued fights over the government’s role in keeping its citizens well. While the politicians fight it out, you can do what you can to safeguard your own health, and the health of your wallet, with the 10 money saving tips listed above.