Health care is, unfortunately, incredibly expensive. Many people often have to choose between health care and everyday expenses. This is especially true for the elderly.
Thankfully, there are ways to save on health care. Whether you choose the best health insurance for your needs or be proactive, you can save money on health care.
Choose the Best Health Insurance Plan for Your Needs
Here’s the thing. What may work for one person isn’t always necessary for another. If you’re young and in good health, a plan with low co-payments for doctor’s visits and prescriptions, may be a waste of money. Your best bet would be to get a plan that focuses more on emergency care like a high deductible health insurance plan with a Health Savings Account.
You can read more about how we made our decision to switch to a High Deductible Plan. It's worked for us since we're typically pretty healthy. We've been able to build up savings in our HSA with the money we would have spent on premiums for a health insurance plan with copays and a much lower deductible.
Take Advantage of Preventative Care
Many health insurance plans cover the cost of preventative care. This means that you’ll usually get a free doctor’s visit and routine blood work once per year. If you’re a woman, you may also get free birth control, a visit to a gynecologist for a yearly exam, and a mammogram (depending on your age). You want to take advantage of all the preventative care you need that your insurance offers.
Shop Around for Medical Procedures
Just like anything else, the costs for medical visits and procedures vary wildly depending on where you go. Before you have a procedure like an MRI done, be sure to call various in-network providers (or even search on your insurance website) to check on prices.
You also want to think about where you can get the best care based on symptoms for the cheapest price. For example, if you have a cold, you don't want to make the ER your first stop. There are other cheaper options like a TelaDoc, Minute Clinic, your personal physician, and Urgent Care that would be less expensive. Of course, head straight for the ER for a true emergency!
Eat a Healthy Diet
If you really want to cut down on your health care costs, you need to be good to your body. This includes eating a healthy diet. For many, this means eating a balanced diet that has fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and dairy. You should also make sure to drink plenty of water.
Like a healthy diet, exercise can also help reduce your health care costs. The reason is people who exercise are less likely to be overweight. This means they’ll have better heart health. A healthy weight range can also help ensure you’re not affected by health issues that are completely avoidable.
Last, but not least, be proactive with your health. For example. If you know a condition runs in your family, do what you can to avoid it (eat healthy, avoid smoking, etc.) and be screened for it. In many cases, early screening can save your life from a number of conditions.
Health care can be expensive, but the real problems come when people avoid health care to save money. It can be much more expensive to treat a condition that has been left untreated for years. Be proactive by having a health insurance plan that meets your needs, eating a healthy diet and exercising, and taking advantage of preventative care.