Healthcare costs are a major source of financial pain in the United States.
According to recent statistics, the average person spends over $12,500 on medical costs every year. And 2020 alone, healthcare costs increased nearly 10%, more than double the previous year’s spending rate.
It’s no surprise healthcare costs are cited as the #1 cause for personal bankruptcy.
While these statistics are deeply concerning, we’re not listing them here to elicit fear. Instead, we’re mentioning them to help you protect yourself from such financial loss.
Let’s face it: healthcare is expensive, especially right now.
But with these five tips, you can take action and start saving money in both big and small ways:
1. Invest in Good Health Insurance
It can be very tempting to buy the most inexpensive health coverage. After all, insurance is something you technically may not even need, right?
Be careful with that line of thinking.
While low-cost plans might look good on paper, they can ultimately cost you more in the long run. After all, the lower your health insurance premiums, the higher your deductible — and in some cases, the higher your copay.
For example, let’s compare plans with a $2,000 premium and a $6,000 deductible, versus one with a $4,000 premium and a $3,000 deductible.
On paper, the first plan saves you $2,000 — at least at the start.
In the event you were hospitalized, however, your insurance wouldn’t kick in until you spent $6,000 in out-of-pocket medical bills.
Thanks to your high deductible, you would ultimately need to pay a total of $8,000 before the insurance helps out.
However, if you picked the $4,000 plan (with the $3,000 deductible), you would only pay $7,000.
Though this is a rudimentary example, we hope it illustrates a simple and relevant point: cheaper isn’t necessarily better in the long run.
P.S. If you’re currently in the job market, be sure to prioritize employers that offer health insurance. Such benefits will help save you a tremendous amount of money every year
2. Carefully Review Your Health Benefits
No matter what type of coverage you choose, it’s vitally important that you understand your health benefits.
In other words, always read the fine print, and never assume what your insurance provider will cover. That’s a recipe for inflated bills and medical debts.
Be sure to carefully review your health benefits, to know your specific copay costs, and to understand which providers are in your network (and which are not).
While these might seem like obvious advice, one misstep could result in painfully large medical bills.
Note: Confused about your policy? Before you book an appointment, call your provider to get answers to your most pressing questions.
3. Always Request Generic Drugs
Prestige is expensive, especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals.
When your doctor writes a prescription, don’t be afraid to ask for a generic alternative.
Why? Because generics can cost consumers up to 85% less than brand-name drugs.
Make no mistake: you won’t be getting a less effective product. You’ll simply be getting the same medicine at a much better price.
In 2020, the average copay for a generic prescription was $6.61, compared to $55.82 for brand-name drugs.
The little things can add up in a hurry.
4. Apply for Patient Assistance (& Financial Assistance Programs)
If you’re in a particularly difficult financial season, be sure to pursue patient assistance programs (PAPs) — which states, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and nonprofits offer to individuals and families in need.
These programs are specifically designed to help you pay for expensive medicines. In many cases, prescription assistance will offer them at a heavily discounted rate, and in some cases, for free.
These are vital programs, as nearly 3 in 10 American adults report not taking medicines as prescribed because of the costs.
To learn more about available prescription assistance programs, click here.
Note: If you’re facing a very expensive copay or medical bill, some organizations and charities will help you cover the costs, including:
- HealthWell Foundation, for underinsured people suffering from chronic diseases.
- PAN Foundation, which helps underinsured people cover copays, health insurance premiums, and transportation costs incurred from treatment.
- CancerCare, which specifically offers copayment assistance for individuals undergoing treatment for cancer.
- United Healthcare Children’s Foundation, which offers grants to cover medical expenses for children.
While the world of healthcare can seem both expensive and impersonal, don’t assume you must always handle the cost alone.
5. Practice Preventive Care (& Stay Ahead of Health Issues)
Healthcare can be so costly that some people avoid the doctor altogether to save money.
In fact, recent studies show that one in four Americans skip appointments to avoid exorbitant bills.
While these strategies might make sense in the moment, untreated medical conditions can easily break the bank.
When health concerns arise, get to the root of the problem as fast as possible. While it will help save money in the long run, it will certainly protect your physical wellbeing and longevity.
It’s also important to practice preventative care.
That includes eating healthy, exercising when possible, and sleeping as much as your schedule allows. In fact, those three ingredients will not only help keep the doctor away, but they’ll also help reduce depression and stress!
No matter how you look at it, healthcare is expensive.
With these five tips, however, we hope you can find new ways to cut costs without compromising your personal wellbeing.
At uLink, we’re dedicated to helping you look after the ones you love abroad. Send money home quickly, safely, and affordably with great exchange rates on every transfer.
Plus, you can also pay your family’s bills like electricity, water, gas, internet, phone bills, and much more within two business days and with just a few taps on the uLink Money Transfer App. Click here to learn more!