16 Oct Reduce Your Out-Of-Pocket Healthcare Costs
Out-of-pocket healthcare costs are increasing more rapidly over the past few years. According to the Wall Street Journal, a handful of policy experts state that these costs are positive since, with higher premiums, co-payments, deductibles, etc., patients are now more concerned with their level of care, which decreases prices because patients will reject ineffective and overpriced services and providers.
At the same time, the article further objects that lower income patients have a much lower quality of healthcare, and that’s becoming lower and lower as healthcare costs continue to skyrocket.
With out-of-pocket health expenses on the rise, it’s necessary for patients to learn ways to cut them. Read on to learn how you can save more and spend less!
1. Plan for Healthcare in Advance
Healthcare costs are expensive, with a trip to the emergency room costing around 40% more than your monthly rent. Still, health problems do (unexpectedly) happen.
Unlike retail or food service, you can’t choose to not take a certain prescription, run several diagnostics, and consult with a specialist or primary care provider.
When these health emergencies do happen, it’s important that you have funds you can immediately access. Which is why it’s important to have a healthcare emergency fund and a long-term healthcare plan in place.
For the healthcare emergency fund, start small; save $300, then $500, and, if you can, save $1,000 (if not more) — aim to save for one emergency room visit (at least).
Depending on your income, set aside funds for your healthcare in the future, when you may need hospice, physical therapy, or need medical help for injury or illness onset.
Taking these small financial steps now will leave you being (and feeling) more prepared should a time come when you need to use them.
2. Know Your Healthcare Insurance Options
While some individuals have company-provided healthcare insurance, others aren’t so lucky. If your employer doesn’t provide healthcare benefits or you’re in school, on disability, or have been laid off, you still have viable healthcare options.
If you aren’t employed or your previous employer laid you off, you may still be able to stay on your employer’s healthcare insurance thanks to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA can also help you stay on your parent’s’ health insurance plan if you’re a college student.
However, the United States Department of Labor specifies that those who qualify for COBRA may have to pay the premium in full, (which can be steep).
Other Healthcare Options to Consider
Nonetheless, this act goes to show that there are plenty of healthcare opportunities available to low income, unemployed, self-employed, and college-attending individuals.
Other healthcare options to look into are Medicaid, Medicare (if 65 years old or older), worker’s compensation, self-insuring, a hybrid healthcare insurance plan, and more. (For more tips on how to reduce healthcare costs, read here.)
3. Consider Cash Discounts on Healthcare
Some providers give a discount if the services are paid for in cash. Check with your provider, insurance company, and medical facility to see if they offer this option. Also, if you can’t pay for the entire visit in full, see if you can work out a payment plan with your provider or the facility.
With some digging, there are several ways you can save on healthcare costs while still getting your health needs met. Other than the healthcare saving tips listed above, you can also seek (legitimate) nonprofit programs—such as Planned Parenthood—for your medical needs.
(However, make sure that you do your research to ensure they are legitimate before visiting.) What other ways can you save on healthcare? Leave a comment!
Wendy Dessler is a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.