What Millennials Need to Know about Healthcare

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As a millennial, you may not be prioritizing healthcare since you are young and healthy now, but here's how to evaluate health insurance without breaking the bank.

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Millennials have a lot to worry about. Building a career, paying off debt, and starting a family can be taxing. With an overflowing plate of responsibilities, it’s all too easy to push healthcare aside. This may be especially true if you bounce back fast from stress, illness, or injury.

You may be young and healthy now, but that is no excuse for avoiding preventative care — or, worse — skipping health insurance altogether. Here’s how to do a better job of prioritizing healthcare without breaking the bank.

Be honest about your healthcare needs

When you are busy, it’s easy to ignore small, nagging health concerns. You may have a lingering knee injury from squatting too heavy at the gym. Or, you have been masking a growing anxiety issue. In any case, it’s better to address minor problems before they balloon into a major health crisis.

If you have been putting off treatment, you are not alone. According to a Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) report, almost half of millennials have cut health costs by skipping, delaying, or stopping care. Rather than dwelling on your past mistakes, now is the time to make a proactive plan for the future.

Establish a relationship with a primary care provider

Seeing a primary care physician may not be ideal. No one likes waiting for an appointment or getting a big bill months after your visit. Those are reasons you may opt for services like urgent care or telemedicine.

Convenience and transparency of one-off visits are tough to beat, but you could be missing out on long-term comprehensive healthcare. By establishing a primary care provider relationship, you may avoid incomplete care. More importantly, they may catch an expensive, life-threatening illness before it’s too late.

How to find the right health insurance plan

If you are too old for your parents’ health insurance plan, you may be shopping alone for the first time. Here are a few basic tips to get you started:

  1. Be realistic about your situation. The easiest place to begin is by making a list of your current healthcare needs.
  2. Make a list of which doctors you prefer to see. Decide which providers you need — and who you may be willing to go without.
  3. Educate yourself by learning some basic health insurance lingo. Healthcare.gov offers a glossary of healthcare terms if you get stuck.
  4. Learn about your employer’s health insurance options. If your company offers a plan, you can compare it to your healthcare list of needs and local providers. From there you can decide if you need to shop elsewhere.
  5. Make note of deadlines for all plans. Regardless of which plan you choose, it’s important to stay on top of all enrollment deadlines.
  6. Assess the total cost of each plan. Look beyond your monthly premiums. Consider your deductible, how much you expect to pay out-of-pocket, and the plan’s out-of-pocket maximum.   
  7. If you choose a high-deductible plan, see if it’s HSA-eligible. If your plan qualifies, a health savings account (HSA) is one way to make out-of-pocket expenses cheaper. The money goes in before you pay taxes and grows tax-free. You can use the money anytime for qualified medical expenses.

Don’t go without health insurance

Skipping health insurance is one of the biggest gambles you can make. Even if your health records are impeccable, there is no telling what the future brings. You can’t plan for accidents or unexpected, major illnesses. But a health insurance policy may protect you from the devastating financial effects.

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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.