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16 Simple Ways to Save Money on Health Care This Year

How to Plan for Healthcare Costs
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Design: Megan Tatem

The future of healthcare seems far from settled, but one thing is certain: Women want coverage to protect themselves and their families—and that's not always easy to find as costs rise. What you can do right now:

Consider a high-deductible plan

If your current plan's premiums are getting pricey—or if you have no plan at all—think about a high-deductible option. "Year after year, a health emergency is what bankrupts people more than anything else," says Jean Chatzky, a personal-finance expert and author of AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip. "Having a high-deductible plan will give you peace of mind as it protects you from a worst-case scenario."

Sign up for a Health Savings Account (HSA)

The popularity of HSAs is growing, and they're likely to stick around for the long term. "HSAs are triple-tax-free," says Chatzky. "The money goes in pretax and grows tax-free, and if you use it to pay for medical expenses, withdrawals are tax-free." The bottom line: Having an HSA can lower the cost of medical care by up to one-third.

Start a medical-emergency fund

Unexpected healthcare expenses may come up, but you don't have to stash away enough savings to cover a lengthy hospital stay. Instead, if you don't have access to an HSA, aim to set aside ,000—you'd be surprised how many medical issues that can cover, says Chatzky.

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How You Can Save Money at the Doctors' Office
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Design: Megan Tatem

Some respondents told WD they'd skipped as many as five doctor's visits in the past year, often because they were stressed about the potential cost. It makes sense: "Medical providers don't post a 'menu' of prices," says Elisabeth Schuler, founder and president of Patient Navigator LLC, a patient-advocacy group. Still, there are ways to get care and lower your bill. Here's how you can be your own best advocate:

1. Follow up quickly

If your claim has been denied, there's a good chance it was simply the result of clerical or coding errors, says Schuler. (Even a detail like an incorrect birthdate can lead to billing mistakes.) Call the insurance company and ask why you were turned down. If an error did occur, your provider will have to issue a new claim.

2. Ask about a payment plan

If you're facing a particularly high bill—say, ,000 or more—a doctor or hospital might agree to a scheduled payment plan if you're in difficult financial shape. (Always ask for one that's interest-free.)

3. Don't be afraid to push back

Routine wellness exams and preventative screenings like mammograms are currently covered under the Affordable Care Act. But if you go outside the scope of what's included in the visit (for example, you ask your doc to examine a painful shoulder at a routine checkup), you could be charged. You have the right to get clarity on any part of the bill you don't agree with or understand, says Schuler.

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How to Get the Most Affordable Medicine
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Design: Megan Tatem

1. Negotiate a discount

Don't be afraid to ask if you're getting the best possible deal. The store may be able to offer coupons or lower the price of your prescription drug to match a competitor's.

2. Pay out-of-pocket

Some medications are cheaper when youdon'tgo through insurance. To compare, have the pharmacist ring up the item both with and without your insurance.

3. Look for a Patient-Assistance Program

If you can't afford a medication, you may qualify to receive free or discounted drugs. Visit the manufacturer's website to learn whether you qualify.

4. Sign up for a mail-order pharmacy

Some insurance companies offer a discount to people who buy from sites likeexpress-scripts.comandcaremark .com.

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How to Relieve Your Stress About Healthcare Costs
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Design: Megan Tatem

Bottling up your troubles can make the problem worse. "Most people feel a huge sense of relief after sharing their circumstances with someone," says Brad Klontz, PsyD, a financial psychologist and coauthor of Mind Over Money. Confide in one (or more) of these people:

1. Talk to a close friend

It can be awkward to talk about money, but it gets easier. "It becomes a two-way conversation," says Chatzky. "What you find is that their situation isn't perfect, either."

2. Establish a money buddy

An accountability partner keeps you focused and motivated. If you don't want to share your financial struggles with someone you know, join one of the Saving Advice forums.

3. Work with a financial planner

A good advisor will help you grow your assets and plan for the future. But choosing one can be tough, so ask for a referral or use resources like Planner Search, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and Let's Make a Plan.

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Use These Tools to Save Time and Money
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1. Feed the Pig

Sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs, this online tool gives users a to-do list of tips to help them meet a goal, whether it's saving for retirement, paying off debt or—yes—worrying less about money.

Create a budget, and this free app will tell you how much money you can spend daily, weekly and monthly. Plus, it tracks your expenses and lets you total the cost of, say, your weekly Starbucks runs.






Video: A Simple Trick on How to Save Up A Lot of Money Fast

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Date: 17.12.2018, 23:25 / Views: 64273


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