Paying for healthcare often feels like you are treading water. If your company passes the costs along to you, it can be even more difficult to afford. You may be paying higher monthly premiums or you may be stuck with a high-deductible health insurance plan. With a high-deductible plan, it can be difficult to predict exactly how much you will pay out-of-pocket—making it tough to keep your budget on track.
Luckily, taking control of your healthcare expenses is possible. It may even be easier than you think. Being proactive now may have a major impact on your wallet all year along. Here are some of the best ways to save on healthcare.
Visit the nearest urgent care for non-emergencies
There are plenty of scenarios when going to the emergency room is best. If you are dealing with a major health crisis or a life-or-death situation, skipping the ER isn’t worth it. Other times, it may be better to pick a more affordable option like an urgent care clinic.
Start by figuring out your closest in-network location. Keep the details handy—in your phone or posted on your refrigerator. If you sprain your ankle, get the flu, or contract a nasty rash, you will be happy to have the details within reach.
Shop around for routine procedures
Are you expecting to pay for a routine procedure? It’s easy to go with the first provider your doctor suggests, but it may not be the cheapest option. Often, procedures have a wide range of prices—even within the same city. Take the time to do some basic research.
Healthcare Bluebook makes it easy to figure out the range of prices you may expect to see in your city. You can also scan New Choice Health to see which providers offer the best prices. Before making a final selection, check with your primary care physician to see if this specialist is right for the treatment you need.
Slash your tax bill
If your company offers a flexible spending account (FSA), you can set aside pre-tax money for healthcare expenses. These plans have a strict use-it-or-lose-it policy, so you need to plan ahead. If you can estimate how much you will use every year, it’s a great way to save on your healthcare.
Health savings accounts (HSAs) are another tax-friendly option. As long as your high-deductible health plan is HSA-eligible, you can save pre-tax money. There is no deadline to use it. Some HSA providers allow you to invest the balance—allowing your money to grow over time. Best of all, you can spend it on any qualified medical expense, penalty-free.
Be proactive to reduce your healthcare spending
Even with good health insurance, you may be spending more on healthcare than before. It’s all too easy for premiums, co-pays, and medical bills to snowball—taking a big chunk from your budget. Your healthcare expenses may feel like a runaway train, but you may have more control than you think. Being proactive may save your family hundreds or thousands per year. These savvy moves may make it easier to afford your family’s other priorities.
Disclaimer: the content presented in this article are for informational purposes only, and is not, and must not be considered tax, investment, legal, accounting or financial planning advice, nor a recommendation as to a specific course of action. Investors should consult all available information, including fund prospectuses, and consult with appropriate tax, investment, accounting, legal, and accounting professionals, as appropriate, before making any investment or utilizing any financial planning strategy.