Save Money On Health Care Costs
I am constantly shocked at how much health care or health insurance costs in the United States. Even with insurance, we spend thousands of dollars each year on health related expenses - and I think we have pretty good insurance. For someone uninsured or who has high health insurance costs I can't imagine how they do it. The fact is though, many people can't afford it. People all over the world do without basic or even emergency health care because they don't have the money to pay for it. This is so sad. I have some ideas of ways you can save on your health care costs that will hopefully help you.
First, having health insurance will almost always save you money. I say "almost always" because if you never get sick and pay health insurance premiums for the whole year and never go to the doctor that would be more expensive than not having health insurance. But I don't think the risk is worth it. So much more can happen to a person than just whether they get sick or not. I have seen enough accidents and had enough weird things happen to my family to know that anything can happen and it is usually expensive. So, get health insurance.
Second, don't get just any health insurance. Just because your company offers it to you, doesn't mean you have to take it. Compare plans with your spouse if they work and see which ones offers the best coverage for the least amount of money. If you do truly never get sick, getting a plan with a higher deductible or co-pay could be cheaper for you in the long run. If you have a big family with small kids (who usually get sick frequently) then opting for a plan with a lower co-pay (even if it means a higher monthly fee) might be a cheaper option for you. Look at all your options and make a decision that fits your circumstances, don't just blindly sign up for the first option.
Third, shop around. You don't have to get insurance through the company you work for, although sometimes this is a more secure option. There are lots of private insurance companies that would love to have your business. If you are young and healthy especially, this could be a much cheaper option. But again, anything can happen and I know healthy 25 year olds that have gotten cancer.
Fourth, don't do stupid things. Don't ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Don't play tackle football without appropriate gear. Don't dive into a shallow pool. Don't ride your bike off your roof. You catch my drift, right? This can save you a lot of money by preventing injuries.
Fifth, take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, exercise several times each week, etc. These things will all help you stay healthy, which means fewer trips to the doctor and less medications you might need. Medication is expensive, so avoiding it is a great way to save money.
Sixth, use natural remedies. Don't run to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle in you or your child. Most people can fight illnesses on their own and most illnesses do not require antibiotics. Doctors can't do anything about viruses. If you think you are getting sick drink extra water, get extra vitamin C and get extra sleep. I also recommend what I call "the best cold remedy ever" that will boost your immune system to battle any sort of illness. Of course you need to use your best judgment on visiting the doctor, so if you think you or your child needs to be seen, then take them in.
Seventh, timing is important when visiting the doctor. Rather than running to the urgent care on Sunday night, try to wait until Monday morning. My daughter is sick right now and has a terrible cough. She had pneumonia in the fall and I was getting concerned that the cough wasn't going away. I opted to be proactive this week and take her to our regular doctor on Friday rather than wait and end up in the emergency room over the weekend. Urgent care and emergency room visits (while sometimes unavoidable) are much more expensive than visiting your regular doctor during business hours.
Eighth, opt for generic medication. Name brand medicine is much more expensive than generic medication. Not all generic medication will work the same as the name brand (even though they claim they do) but it is worth a try. We have never had a problem with generic medicine in my family and I know they work just as well for many other people. They have saved us hundreds of dollars too.
Ninth, use a flex plan to help cover some of your out of pocket health care costs before taxes are taken out of your paycheck. You can use your flex plan for co-pays, prescriptions, eyeglasses, etc. and save money each year. Be careful though, because you have to make sure you use all the money in your plan each year or you will lose it.
Health care costs money and that isn't going to change any time soon. Every doctor visit, procedure, test, or medicine costs money - too much money if you ask me. Using these tips though, has saved us a lot of money over the years and hopefully it will help you as well.