13 More Ways to Reduce Healthcare Costs

13 More Ways to Reduce Healthcare Costs

Everyone wants to save money on their healthcare. Healthcare can be one of our biggest expenses in life. A while back we published 13 ways to reduce healthcare costs. Now we have 13 more ways you can reduce health costs.

 

Consider an HSA. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are growing in popularity. A high-deductible policy protects you from the cost of a catastrophic illness or prolonged hospitalization but leaves you paying for small and routine healthcare yourself. With an HSA, you control the savings account and use it for those health care expenses. Although you own and manage the account, employers will often make contributions to HSAs as well. Funds you don’t use grow tax-free and can be rolled over from year to year.

Take advantage of flexible spending accounts. A flexible spending account, or FSA, is an employee benefit program that allows you to set aside money on a pretax basis for certain health care and dependent care expenses. That means you keep more of your money.

Don’t skimp on preventive care. Be sure your child gets routine checkups and vaccines as needed, both of which can prevent medical problems (and bills) down the road. Also, adults should get recommended preventive screenings to detect health conditions early.

Look for free services. Look for free health screenings and vaccinations in your area. With a little research, you may find free or reduced-price flu shots, vaccinations, Pap smears, prostate exams, cholesterol screenings and more.

Visit a dental school. You will be treated by dental students and residents, who perform the dental treatment while closely supervised by their instructors. Expect to pay about 20 to 60 percent of what you’d pay for the same treatment by a private dentist and many schools accept your dental insurance.

Don’t forget to floss. Studies show those who floss regularly have a decrease in periodontal disease, bad breath and cavity incidence. The cost of periodontal disease treatment can range in the thousands of dollars.

Find discount contacts. Discount websites and stores can provide the contact lenses prescribed by your eye doctor, in factory-sealed packaging, at savings of up to 70 percent off what you would pay at the retail level.

Chill out. According to WebMD, up to 90 percent of doctor visits are for stress-related conditions. Studies show relaxation techniques are effective in controlling anxiety, enhancing the immune system and reducing conditions such as high blood pressure, substance abuse and chronic pain.

Quit smoking. Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers are allowed to charge smokers 50 percent higher premiums than nonsmokers for new polices sold to individuals and smaller employer groups. Plus, if you quit smoking you will save approximately $2,000 a year on the cost of cigarettes alone.

Live a healthy lifestyle. Focus on eating nutritiously, cutting down on fast food and getting more physical exercise. Striving toward a healthier lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight can drastically reduce future medical conditions and diseases.

Wash your hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand hygiene is the most important factor in preventing the spread of germs. In fact, health experts estimate that 80 percent of common infections are spread through hand contact. Save hundreds of dollars a year on cold and flu treatments.

Get a second opinion. Save thousands of dollars a year on cutting-edge medical tests, which usually are not covered by insurance, by following the guidelines recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. You can find these guidelines at www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstfix.htm.

Avoid the emergency room. Don’t go to the emergency room (ER) when your regular doctor or an urgent care visit would do the job. If you or your child is feeling ill on Friday, get into the doctor that day to avoid overpaying at the ER during the weekend.

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.