Healthcare is one of the most pertinent expenses for people and companies across the US. What’s more, is that the associated costs continue to rise drastically every year. With the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only has the importance of healthcare grown, but relevant insurance and its rates have gone up too. According to Forbes, since 2000, medical expenses have grown by nearly 5% year on year, which is alarming considering that the annual GDP increase over these years has been 2.85% only.
It’s equally startling to note that insurance premiums for healthcare coverage have also risen substantially over the years. As of 2022, regardless of medical inflation being below average, the workforce in the US paid 10.6% more in lieu of healthcare expenses that came out of their pockets and not through their insurance providers. In 2023, companies are also expecting the costs of medical plans to increase by an average of 5.6% for each employee. Collectively, these factors only make healthcare more expensive for middle and low-income people.
There is, thus, a strong need for individuals to think smartly about the costs associated with healthcare. Here are some of the ways in which you can help bring these expenses down or manage them more efficiently:
1. Make use of potential benefits
There are many different scenarios where you can avail benefits not just from your insurance plans, but from legal disputes as well. For instance, if you have worked in an environment where you’ve been exposed to toxic substances like asbestos for a long time, you’re at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma, and you can get legal help to pay for treatment. There are several examples of compensation in which patients have successfully received between $1 and $1.4 million. These settlement offers can help you get better care for your symptoms and ailments.
Still, that’s not all. Insurance plans from most service providers offer certain benefits, but you have to be smart in order to avail of these. Get routine screenings to ensure that your body is healthy, and in case some disorder arises, the doctors can diagnose and treat it in the early stages. Many plans these days also offer the services of health advocates or case managers. The former assists you in getting the most out of your benefits, while the case manager advises you on the best possible health practices.
2. Find ways to cut expenses on medicines
There are certain ways in which you can save money on medicines. For starters, you can ask the insurance or healthcare provider that you use if there is a possibility for you to switch to generic medicines. Branded drugs are relatively more expensive than generic ones, but they have more or less the same ingredients. Your provider will advise you accordingly. At the same time, you can also ask them if there are any other cost-efficient alternatives for the medicines that you are taking.
Another way to get more affordable prices on medicines is to check if you can get them in the mail. Most importantly, always make sure that you take your medicines on time and in the amount that they are prescribed. Failure to do this makes you more vulnerable to further alleviating your ailment, which drives up your medical bills.
3. Plan about possible expenses in the future
Although emergency and critical care scenarios are hard to predict and plan about, there are various other situations where you can. With an ongoing illness, you can easily factor in various circumstances that can arise during treatment. Also, treatment can be more affordable if you consult your doctor for regular screenings. This ensures that any arising illness can be nipped in the bud.
Moreover, certain common medical issues like flu, fever, throat infection, etc., don’t warrant going to the doctor at all. Of course, if the problem is serious, like a fever that won’t subside, you can’t risk not visiting a doctor. So, for scenarios where you can plan medical expenses, it is beneficial that you do because that will help you save both time and money on your bills.
4. Prefer in-network medical facilities
Depending on your health insurance provider, you may have the option of seeing physicians that are out-of-network or in-network. Since in-network providers have an agreement with your insurance provider, you pay less to see them. This translates into lower prices. You may have to travel further for an in-network facility, but the savings you make on the medical bill will significantly offset those costs. In-network facilities provide the same level of care as out-of-network ones, but only because they are in partnership with your service provider, they are able to offer you lower costs.
It is best to check with the medical insurance company you signed up with to get a list of both types of healthcare facilities and keep the location handy for when you may need it.
5. Look after your health
The most effective way to cut your medical bills is to invest in your health, mitigating the chances for it to deteriorate. Indeed, some medical conditions are beyond your control, but most of them can be kept in check through healthy practices.
Firstly, it is important to eat a healthy diet. Excessive consumption of processed or fast food, sodas, carbs, and fats is not just a cause of obesity and other more serious conditions like cardiovascular diseases and even strokes. The same is true for exercise as well. Taking out 30 to 45 minutes for a light or moderate workout, which can be something as simple as a brisk walk, can help you stay in shape and reduce your chances of falling ill.
Additionally, indulging in activities that let you stay in a positive mindset, like hanging out with friends and family, quitting smoking, and meditation, can help significantly.
Your health needs to be your top priority, and it is so for most people. However, the rapidly rising costs of medical facilities put a substantial burden on the pocket. In order to avoid the strain that it brings, saving up in certain places can help you stay healthy without breaking the bank. It is all about being smart about your medical expenses and ensuring that you utilize the benefits of any healthcare plan you have. Moreover, you can take control of your health by eating right, exercising, adopting positive habits, and mitigating stress. Following these tips will help you save the money you spend on maintaining your well-being.