For millions of American families, healthcare expenses represent a huge drain on their household budgets. But if you’re paying full price for all of your healthcare coverage and expenses, you’re missing out on opportunities to save some serious money.
Practical Options for Saving
Unfortunately, we live in a country where healthcare options are good, yet expensive. In fact, they’re proportionally more expensive than almost any other developed country. But that doesn’t mean you have to go broke trying to keep your family healthy. For those who are serious about saving, there’s ample opportunity to use clever strategies and workarounds to slash expenses.
1. Shop Around for Health Insurance Plans
According to DaveRamsey.com, “Total medical costs—including premiums paid by employer, employee, and out-of-pocket costs—come to a grand total of nearly $27,000 for the typical American family of four on an average employer-sponsored plan.”
If you’re like most Americans, health insurance is downright unaffordable. But the good news is that you have more options than ever to shop around and find a plan that works for you. As you shop, don’t just compare monthly premiums. You also need to think about things like out of pocket costs, deductibles, and health insurance networks. Collectively, these represent the true cost of a health insurance plan.
2. Use a Health Sharing Program
If you’re tired of health insurance and the expensive nature of traditional plans, you may consider looking into a health sharing program – also known as medical cost sharing ministries.
In essence, a health sharing program isn’t insurance (though it functions similarly in many cases). It’s a collection of like-minded individuals who pay a monthly cost to an accredited ministry that then pools money together and covers the medical expenses of other members. There’s too much to explain in this one section, but you can find a full explanation here.
3. Purchase Drugs from Canadian Pharmacies
The prices of the 20 most commonly prescribed drugs for seniors have risen a whopping 10-times more than the annual rate of inflation over the last five years. And it’s not like costs have increased for the pharmaceuticals making the drugs. In most cases, they’re just raising prices because they can.
While something needs to be done on the regulatory front to curb prices and bring them back down to reasonable levels, there are some workarounds you may be able to use to save money.
One option is to purchase drugs from Canadian Pharmacies, which often sell the same exact prescriptions at just a fraction of the cost American pharmacies charge. While not as convenient as driving to the drug store down the street, you could save up to 80 percent in prescription drug costs.
4. Establish an HSA
If you find that you’re spending a lot of money on out of pocket healthcare expenses, then a health savings account (HSA) may be right for your family.
“An HSA works with a health plan that has a high deductible,” Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota explains. “You can save money in your HSA account before taxes and use the funds to pay for eligible health care expenses. HSAs can also help you save for retirement, when you can use the funds to pay for general living expenses without penalty.”
5. Carefully Review Medical Bills
Don’t just assume that medical bills are accurate. Errors are actually quite common – and can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Make a habit out of reviewing every single medical bill that comes your way. If you’re unsure of an expense, ask for a clarification. (Along this same line of thinking, you may also be able to negotiate costs down – especially if you’re paying in cash.)
Don’t Make Rash Decisions
Trying to navigate the complex healthcare marketplace can feel overwhelming at times. And if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself in a position where you’re unsure of how to proceed. But never make a decision without first understanding the issue at hand and comparing the costs and benefits.
Patience will prove to be a virtue in your pursuit of saving on healthcare expenses. If there’s something you don’t know, do some research and find answers. It can be a complicated field to navigate, but you’ll find your way.