Health is universally important. That’s the ultimate goal for most humans, isn’t it? To live a happy and healthy life. While that is the goal, sometimes getting there can be more expensive than we planned.
Healthcare can often be an expensive and confusing maze to navigate. If you have a job that provides health insurance, you may enjoy a lower monthly rate for that peace of mind that your family will remain healthy, but out of pocket expenses can be in the $1,000 range. Not to mention the deductibles you may have to pay even with insurance. But whether you’re a career server at an upscale restaurant, a student working toward your automotive and diesel certifications, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you deserve affordable health insurance.
It’s no secret that the world of health insurance in America is messy and politicians have been trying to pass health care reform for decades. In the meantime, you need ways to make your healthcare costs more affordable now. While we can’t improve the entire system overnight, here are a few ways to make sure you’re saving on your general health care needs.
1. Research and Use your Benefits
The first place to start is researching different plans. If you are on a health insurance plan through your workplace, you may not have much of an option. But if you’re shopping around for affordable health insurance, do your research. You can compare health insurance with iSelect to see the benefits, deductibles, and perks of different plans. These health insurance quotes can show you exactly what you would pay during medical appointments, procedures, or emergencies.
Once you do find the perfect health plan, you’ll want to be fully versed in all your benefits and then take advantage of them. Experts implore you to utilize the plan you have. For example, one of your essential health benefits is getting a physical check-up every year. Be sure you’re doing so, because staying on top of issues now will save you money in the future. Take advantage of the health coverage you’re already paying for.
2. Save on Medicine
Beyond saving on your individual health insurance, you can save money on your medications. Simple measures like asking for a generic prescription can save you a lot of money. Also consider asking health care professionals to bulk order regular prescriptions. Buying a 90-day pack of a daily medication rather than a 30-day pack every month can reduce your costs and the hassle of going to the pharmacy once a month. Keeping an eye out for little discounts here and there can add up.
3. Stay In-Network
Your insurance plan will include certain hospitals and healthcare providers. It is imperative that you stay within your network. Going to a different doctor could greatly increase your medical costs. A simple Google search or phone call to the billing department will answer if its the right doctor or specialist for you.
4. Avoid ER Trips
Along with staying in-network, you want to avoid trips to the Emergency Room unless they’re absolutely necessary. Coming down with a fever or dealing with a chronic headache? Maybe check into in-network urgent care providers before you visit the ER to avoid the higher medical costs. Use your best judgment and never drive while high or intoxicated. And don’t think you can let your guard down while on vacation living your best life. If you take a tumble and break your arm while taking surfing lessons for beginners, then the ER may be a must. But saving money on smaller non-emergencies gives you extra comfort when the real emergencies do come.
5. Look into Flex Spending
Your insurance plan may include a flexible spending account (FSA). An FSA allows you to deposit money, tax-free, that you can later spend on medical expenses like copays and pharmacy costs. Note this account operates on a yearly “use it or lose it” basis. So consider what your normal medical expenses are throughout the year, and deposit approximately that amount throughout the year.
6. Communicate With Your Doctor
Communication is key, with anything, but especially with your health coverage. Don’t be ashamed to talk with your doctor about your financial situation. If you need cheap health insurance to make ends meet, they’ll understand. After all, it is your health care provider‘s job to keep you and your family members healthy on your terms. They can help you shop around and maybe even find a few more tips to keep your health costs low.
7. Fight for Your Finances
Lastly, there may be times you need to fight for your benefits. Sometimes the insurance company may deny a claim for paying your medical bills. Know that you can appeal and fight for the coverage you deserve. Mistakes happen, and you may be losing out on money because of a simple account error or the wrong benefit number on a form. To save yourself money, don’t take no for an answer and make sure your insurance company helps cover those medical costs.