Healthcare is expensive, and it often seems like there is simply no way around it. But with these ten steps, you can reduce your health care costs.
- Know Your Benefits
Look at your policy for discounts and other offers on items like vitamins, prescription eyeglasses and chiropractic care! Review your policy closely to see what special benefits are included.
- Watch Your Bills
Compare statements from in-network physicians to Carrier Explanations of Benefits before paying them. Providers may send a bill out before they have received payment from the carrier. If the in-network provider statement does not reflect carrier payment, do not pay it. Bills should reflect the exact co-payment of coinsurance that is indicated in your policy.
- Consolidate Health Insurance
It’s often cost effective to insure your family with one health plan, instead of two. By consolidating your insurance with your spouse, you cut your monthly premium costs and pay one deductible. If you’re getting or have gotten married, or have had a baby in the last 30 days, you’ll be able to join your spouse’s health plan immediately. If not, you’ll need to wait for the next open enrollment period.
- Don’t Forget the Free Stuff
Get testing for free. Many pharmacies, or even grocery stores with pharmacies will offer free blood pressure exams and will have periodic low-cost cholesterol screenings. Check if your employer offers free mammography or other health exams. Also look for events sponsored by organizations like the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association and others – they will often have free screenings during events.
- Contribute to a Health Savings Account
These accounts allow you to save pre-tax dollars that can be used for certain out-of-pocket medical expenses. Some plans even allow you to invest the leftover money at the end of the year. Check to see if an HSA is available with your insurance.
- Track Your Spending
Don’t throw away your healthcare-related receipts. You might be able to deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses. Create a file to track your family’s yearly out-of-pocket medical expenses, including co-pays, prescriptions, eyeglasses and other health aids. If your yearly expenses exceed a certain percentage of your taxable income, you may be able to deduct them.
- Save on Prescriptions
When your doctor prescribes a medication, be sure to ask if a generic formula is available and if it would be appropriate for your condition. Your pharmacist can also assist you in determining if a generic medication is available.
- Get Preventative Care
See your doctor and your dentist. Regular physicals and dental check-ups can help find minor problems before they become costly medical emergencies.
- Buy Only the Coverage You Need
If you want coverage for basic medical needs, consider getting a limited medical or hospital indemnity plan. These plans can offer significant savings on monthly premiums.
- Take Care of Yourself
The only real way to reduce your health care costs is to take care of yourself. Follow your physician’s guidelines about diet and exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The VFW Insurance Program can help you learn more about health insurance, as well as find plans that meet your needs.