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6 Ways to Reduce Your Healthcare Costs

Personal Finance

Since the Affordable Care Act became law, many of us have wondered exactly how the landscape of the American healthcare system is going to change.

An elderly couple jogging on the beach

Folks with pre-existing conditions are likely to have better access, but we’re still waiting to see how expensive premiums are going to be.

Because of the uncertainty, it’s in your best interest to do everything you can to reduce your healthcare costs today.

If you’re not quite sure where to start, read on.

1. Eat a Healthier Diet

A diet chock full of fresh fruits and vegetables is sure to improve your health and cut down on doctor visits.

If there’s a farmers market near you, you can save significantly on your costs and get the freshest produce available

Cut back on red meat, eat more salads, and grill some hearty vegetables to change things up a bit.

2. Eliminate Vices

We all know that smoking and drinking are bad for you.

In fact, a provision in the Affordable Care Act allows employers to charge you more for health insurance if you smoke.

That should be motivation enough to quit. If you abuse alcohol, you may be charged a higher premium as well.

Tackling your vices is never easy, so if you need help, reach out to local organizations and therapy providers – both your body and your bank account are going to thank you for it.

3. Increase Your Deductibles

If you don’t visit the doctor very often, you can save by bumping your deductibles up.

Just make sure the increase is something you can sleep with at night, and always have some money tucked away in an emergency fund to cover the higher deductible should you need it.

If you’re starting a new job, review all deductible choices carefully and make the best decision based on your current financial situation.

4. Request Generic Prescriptions

A lot of prescription patents recently expired, meaning that a lot of pharmaceutical companies can now create comparable medications at better prices.

Whenever a doctor writes you a prescription, request generics.

Better yet, see if the doctor has some samples lying around and get at least some of your pills for free.

5. Review All Bills for Errors

Trying to review a medical bill for errors can feel like deciphering hieroglyphics.

However, Medical Billing Advocates of America reports that as much as 80% of these bills contain errors.

Do your best to weave your way through the jargon, and if anything looks out-of-order, contact the billing department and ask for an explanation.

6. Consider Opening a Flexible Spending Account

If your current employer offers it, a flexible spending account can save you money.

You contribute pre-tax dollars, which can in turn be used for things such as co-payments, prescriptions, and other out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Just understand that the money in your account must be used by the end of the year – funds do not rollover.

Final Thoughts

Of all of these tips, staying healthy is always going to be your best bet.

Get yourself on an exercise program, take off those extra pounds, eat a health-conscious diet, and get rid of any bad habits you may have.

You’re going to reduce your bills, but more importantly, you’re going to stand a better chance of living a long, healthy life.

What are you doing to reduce your healthcare costs?

Photo credit: mikebaird via photopin cc

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