The only thing worse than being sick is spending money you don’t have on your health! Here are five tips for saving money on medical care costs, from one of my favorite financial experts: Ethan Ewing of Bills.com.
Before the tips, a quip:
“They claim red meat is bad for you…but I never saw a sick-looking tiger.” ~ Chi Chi Rodriguez
Eating lean red meat can keep you healthy – as long as you don’t overdo it! And, my friends, saving money on medical care costs is mostly about staying physically healthy. For more health info, click on Women’s Health for Life, edited by Dr Donnica Moore. And, read on for Ewing’s five tips for saving money on medical care…
5 Tips for Saving Money on Medical Care
1. Keep up to date with your health checkups. Do not skimp on medical care to save a few dollars, especially if a health condition requires regular monitoring. Also, make sure your children get all necessary vaccinations. How to save on medical care: Many insurance plans cover well-child and preventive care visits with a low or no co-payment. Or look into health care clinics for discount health exams and vaccinations.
If you’re a college student, read 8 Tips for Staying Healthy at College.
2. Ask for a discount – Some doctors give patients a cash discount for paying out of pocket. Patients with health insurance should be sure the physicians they see are in the network for a deeper discount on fees. How to save money on medical care: Talk to the manager of patient accounts; many providers will offer discounts of 10-50% if patients have lost jobs or can pay cash up front.
3. Save with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – An FSA allows employees to have money deducted, pretax, from their paychecks for medical care. For a $1,000 annual deduction, employees might save up to $350 (depending on the tax bracket). How to save on medical care: Look at canceled checks, bills or credit card statements to determine how much you spent on medical care last year. Then request withholding of about 80 percent of that amount. Remember: if you don’t spend the full amount deducted, you will lose it. If you don’t have access to a FSA, read 9 Tips for Building an Emergency Fund.
4. Save on medications – Ask doctor if a generic medication will work as well as a brand-name one. Also investigate any possible discounts, from insurance to AARP to AAA. Mail-order pharmacies sometimes allow patients to order several months of medications at a big discount. How to save on medical care: Look at all the options, including discount medications from warehouse club and discount/chain stores, to find the best deal on needed medicines.
5. Wear a helmet – Follow the same rules children should follow: Wear a helmet while on wheels. That includes skates, scooters, bicycles, motorcycles and skateboards. Also protect heads from injury when skiing or snowboarding, horseback riding, rock climbing or engaging in other risky activities. How this saves money on medical care: A safety helmet costs less than $30. The average cost of care for a moderate brain injury is nearly $1 million.
To read part two, go to 5 More Tips for Saving Money on Medical Care Costs.
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And if you’re in debt because of health care, you might find 5 Tips for Managing Medical Debt helpful.
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