Keep Your Family And Your Wallet Healthy
Healthcare is one of the most expensive parts of the average household budget, so it’s likely one of your biggest bills. While it can be difficult to save on healthcare, especially if you’re not in a position where you can renew or change your policy right away, you can make plans to save money when that time comes around. Top personal finance bloggers weighed in with tips on how they save money on their personal healthcare, and we were impressed with just how much they cut off of their own bills. We asked them for help, and put together this article to help you with cutting saving money on your healthcare bills.
How much can you save? Depending on the size of your household, your coverage options, and your health, you could be cutting as much as $500 off of your monthly payments.
Health Savings Account (HSA)
Most of us don’t really think of setting up a separate account for our healthcare, but experts say it could be the best thing you can do. While not everyone is in the right place to do so financially, you should probably look into it. If you qualify, it could mean a lot of savings.
Grayson Bell – Debt Roundup: “If you qualify for an HSA, you should be using one. You can easily save the equivalent of your tax rate and the money can grow when not in use. This is a great way to handle high-deductible health plans”
Miranda – Planting Money Seeds: “If it works with your family’s health situation, consider a high-deductible plan. You’ll save on premiums each month. Pair that plan with a Health Savings Account for increased tax benefits. My HSA is one of my favorite accounts. ”
Lance – Money Manifesto: “Use a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account to save on taxes if you have an eligible healthcare plan.”
Kalen Bruce – MoneyMiniBlog.com: “Use an HSA (Health Savings Account) and find insurance that works with it. HSAs can be great for putting away money for healthcare, without giving it all to the insurance company.”
There are a lot of qualifications for an Health Savings Account, so you should double check with the qualifications before you plan to open one. A few examples include that you must not be claimed as a dependent on anyone else’s taxes, must not have medicare, and so on.
Know What You’re Paying For and Ask Questions
Most of us just go in to the doctor’s office and expect that we need everything we’re paying for, or that we’re automatically getting any discounts we’re paying for, but that isn’t always true. Personal finance bloggers saved money through a variety of tactics, and most of them involved speaking up and making sure they had all of the facts before paying anything.
Liquid: “Ask whether tests, prescriptions or procedures are really necessary. Sometimes you can do without unnecessary tests.”
Lance – Money Manifesto: “Always ask your healthcare providers for a discount. Worst case they will say no. Best case they will write off your balance and you won’t have to pay a dime.”
Andrew Schrage – Money Crashers: “Make sure you check the Affordable Care Act website (Healthcare.gov) to see if you might qualify for a subsidy or discount when purchasing health insurance.”
Gary – Gajizmo: “Choose employers with good health benefits.”
Know When Not to Go To the Hospital
It’s easy enough to rush to the hospital at the first sign of something wrong, especially with children, but most of the time you pay just for walking in the door, even if they can’t help you. Knowing when and when not to go into the hospital might save you a great deal according to Laurie from the Frugal Farmer.
Laurie – The Frugal Farmer: “Learn to discern when you really should go to the doctor or if the malady you’re dealing with really isn’t that serious. The doctor can’t do much for you if you have a bad cold.”
Take Care of Yourself
Eating healthy might be more expensive than eating cheap food, but it can benefit your bank account in other ways. In fact, almost all of our bloggers had something to say about taking care of yourself to cut down on your healthcare bills.
Brian – Debt Discipline: “Reduce healthcare by eating and exercising regularly. Prevention is the key”
Laurie – The Frugal Farmer: “Take charge of your health by eating primarily whole foods, and by exercising regularly. Keep vices such as alcohol, cigarettes and sweets to a minimum, or avoid them altogether.”
Kalen Bruce – MoneyMiniBlog.com: “Stay (or become) healthy. Eat right, exercise, stop smoking and don’t drink too much. The better your health, the cheaper your healthcare.”
Melanie – Dear Debt: “Take care of yourself through diet and exercise to avoid additional health costs. Being healthy saves you money!”
Stefanie O’Connel – thebrokeandbeautifullife.com: “Exercise at home, go for a run, YouTube a yoga workout, stretch, stay active, it doesn’t have to cost anything. Cook. Use whole foods to make healthy dishes and skip the processed box meals”
Andrew Schrage – Money Crashers – “Improve your personal health. Start eating a healthier diet with more fruits and vegetables and get on an exercise program, either through a fitness center or create your own and workout at home. If you’re in general good health, consider a high deductible health plan which normally comes with a lower premium than traditional health insurance”
Gary – Gajizmo: “Eat well, exercise, and visit the doctor for your annual check-up.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Around
Shopping around isn’t something most of us think of when we go to the doctor, but it could be saving you money. While not always possible, a little practical price comparison is something that several of our bloggers recommended.
Lance – Money Manifesto: “Always ask healthare providers for a cost estimate before you go in if possible. Obviously this won’t work in an emergency, but for regular procedures you can save a lot of money by shopping around for healthcare.”
Liquid: “Ask for prices upfront, and inquire about possible discounts for cash payments. Fill your prescriptions with big retailers as they are usually cheaper than neighborhood drugstores.”
Melanie – Dear Debt: “Consider going to schools or community clinics for affordable health and dental appointments.”
Gary – Gajizmo: “When buying prescription drugs, research generic options first.”
Healthcare can cost a great deal of money, but by being smart with what you’re paying, how you’re paying, and how often you go in, you can save a lot. While our bloggers offered a lot of different estimates, and exact amounts will depend on your situation, the number of people you are paying healthcare for, and how diligently you follow tips, you could be saving a great deal. How much? Here are our bloggers estimates.
$25-$75 – Laurie, The Frugal Farmer
Potentially thousands of dollars – Lance from Money Manifesto
$100 – Thousands if your health deteriorates -Stefanie O’Connell, thebrokeandbeautifullife.com
Potentially hundreds of dollars – Kalen Bruce, moneyminiblog.com
Saving money on your health insurance takes work, especially if one of your tactics is to get healthy, but with proper planning, staying out of the doctor’s office, and making sure you’re getting the best deals when you do go in, you could be saving hundreds. We averaged estimates to around $490 per month, which is a lot by nearly anyone’s standards.
If you have more tips of your own or you want to share your experience with the experts, write us to: email@example.com