How To Lower Your Health Care Costs

As health care costs trends higher in 2020, insurers continue to raise premiums and move larger shares of those bills to consumers. While rising costs have sparked debate on the national stage, no other topic may be more important in the 2020 election.

No one is safe from rising health care costs, even employer-provided insurance is expected to see rising expenses, premiums and out-of-pocket costs in 2020. Even so, you’re going to have opportunities to save money. Choosing the right insurance plan for you and your family is key to ensuring you have a higher probability to see savings. 

For example, if you’re not expecting to have a lot of medical bills, a higher-deductible health care plan could be the route to go. It could save you hundreds of dollars on your premiums and thousands of dollars in future medical expenses.

No matter what health insurance plan you ultimately choose, you can save a lot of money on out-of-pocket expenses by being smart and educated on what route you plan to go.

Rule 1: Know Your Coverage

While this should be common sense, a lot of people don’t understand their insurance coverage thoroughly. Most health care plans are required to provide different preventive care solutions without cost-sharing, regardless of how much your deductibles are. However, as it pertains to short-term health plans, many of them are not required to provide preventive care. You want to make sure your plan covers things like blood pressure, diabetes or cholesterol testing, as well as shots and vaccines.

When you’re reviewing your coverage options, look for features that benefit you the most. A lot of employers are now offering incentive programs and savings that can help you lower your health care costs. If your employers has an employee wellness program, consider participating in it. These programs can also help you focus on your own health while rewarding those who take action. 

If your employer doesn’t have a corporate wellness program, ask them if they’d be willing to particpate. Once they learn they can save money on their own healthcare costs, they may be willing to let you speak your case.

If you’re an employer that wants to learn how we can help you save money on your healthcare costs, take a second and reach out to one of our corporate wellness consultants. We’d love to show you how we’re helping companies save money, build employee engagement and create a thriving workplace culture. Here’s the contact form.

Rule 2: Choosing The Right Provider

Lowering your health care costs begins with choosing the right provider. Many people have doctors they’ve been going to for years or certain companies they’ve built a relationship with over time. If you already have a prior relationship with someone, you’re going to want to make sure those providers can take your insurance plan.

If you have a big procedure planned for the future, you want to make sure everyone in your network is covered on your health plan. If your doctor is not covered and you’ll be required to pay out-of-pocket, see if there’s a discount available for paying a large lump sum. 

Medical tests can vary in prices but the majority of them are going to be expensive if you’re not covered. Simple x-rays alone can costs a lot of money if you don’t have insurance to cover them. Procedures, these are going to be very expensive, even for simple procedures done within a few minutes. You can visit Healthcare Bluebook to get an estimate on how much certain procedures cost.

Rule 3: Planning For Future Health Costs

Many of you are going to be reviewing your health care plan options and you’re going to see high-deductible offers. Why go that route? Well, there’s a few perks for choosing a high deductible plan, let’s discuss them.

(1) Lower Premiums – Lower premiums are always a win.

(2) Health Savings Account – We’ll talk about it below.

Now, in order to qualify for a (HSA) health savings account, you must have an HSA-eligible health insurance policy with an annual deductible of at least $1,400 for individual coverage or $2,800 for family coverage in 2020. You can contribute up to $3,500 to an HSA if you have individual coverage and up to $7,100 if you have family coverage, plus an extra $1,000 if you’re 55 or older this year (2020).

You can fund the account with pretax (or tax-deductible) dollars, and the money that grows is tax-deferred. You can take tax-free withdrawals to pay for qualified medical expenses, which includes deductibles, co-payments, prescription drug costs and out-of-pocket dental and vision costs. If you withdraw the funds for non-qualified expenses before age 65, you would be responsible for paying a 20% penalty, plus income taxes on the amount you take out.

If you do have access to a HSA through your employer, that plan could be a good fit for yout. Most employers who offer access to an HSA cover the administrative fees. Many also seed the account. If your employer doesn’t offer an HSA, you don’t like the HSA provider your employer uses or you’re buying health insurance on your own, most banks and brokerage firms offer HSAs to anyone with an eligible policy. You can compare offerings at HSASearch.com.

Rule 4: Savings On Medications

There’s a lot of great options out there to help you save money on your medications. Online apps like GoodRX can help you save as much as 80 percent on the costs associated with your prescriptions. 

You can also consider using generic medications versus brand name medications. Generic medications can cost up to 85 percent less than its counterpart. 

Many pharmacies have their own programs where you can save money on your medication costs. Wal-Mart has a plan like this where you can get hundreds of prescriptions filled for just $10. A lot of pharmacies are using online apps to help patients lower the costs of medications. 

Online pharmacies are another way you may be able to save money on prescription costs. 

There’s a lot of options out there if you’re willing to shop around. Don’t settle on what you’re currently paying for your medications, you may be able to get it cheaper with a few minutes of your time. It doesn’t hurt to call around, you may save a lot more money than what you think.

If you can stick to these 4 rules, you’re going to have a higher chance of reducing your health care costs versus where you are at the moment.

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