Health care continues to get more and more expensive each year. And it is one expense that everyone incurs at some point in their life. As such, it is important that you understand the drivers of health care costs, and what you can do as an individual to save money on all costs associated with your health.
Lower Health Care Costs by Avoiding the Doctor
The easiest way to save money on health care is to avoid your doctor! This may sound odd, but if you eat right, and maintain a fit lifestyle, you can hopefully remain healthy enough to avoid going to the doctor.
However, everyone falls ill or injures themselves at some point. For routine problems, you still may want to avoid the doctor and check out the retail clinics offered in many pharmacies or retail stores. These offer low cost treatment options, and offer the same quality of care as a regular doctor’s office.
Finally, try to avoid the Emergency Room at all costs, unless it is truly a life threatening emergency. The average cost of an emergency room visit is in excess of $750, so unless you really need to get help, don’t go there. Head to urgent care or your doctor instead.
The next trick to saving money on health care is to shop around. Many people don’t do this, and just pay whatever their regular doctor offers. The most common item you can shop for is a prescription. You should ask your doctor if you need the name brand pill, or if a generic medication will do. Many pharmacies offer generic prescriptions for as low as $4, versus upwards of $50 to $100 for the name brand item.
There are also a lot of medical devices you can shop around for. A common one is contact lenses. You can shop online at stores like 1-800-Contacts and save a bundle on your contacts versus getting them directly from your eye doctor. This is true for many other items as well.
Use a Flexible Spending Account
Finally, if your employer offers a flexible spending account, take advantage of it. You can use pre-tax dollars to fund your flexible spending account, which you can then use to pay for your health care needs. This saves you the tax you would have normally paid on the money, which is essentially a savings of around 20-30%, depending on your tax bracket.