Prepare or Prevent

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save money health care medical bills health insuranceEvery year health care costs seem to raise higher and higher. Whether it’s copays and premiums, doctor’s visits, or prescription drugs, medical costs can eat up your pay check pretty quickly.

High deductible plans are becoming more popular in employer-provided plans, which means you pay more cash out of your pocket upfront. Health insurance plans are choosing not to cover prescription drugs more often than not. Doctor’s fees are going up because they have to pay their growing bills too.


Even though medical costs are rising and there is no perfect health insurance policy to ease the pain, you can still save money on health care by following these 5 simple steps.


Know what your health insurance plan covers

Knowing what your health insurance plan covers can save you hundreds. If you know that your plan covers a certain amount for an emergency room visit but covers even more for a clinic visit, that will help you make the best decision for your bank account. Find out what your plan offers for preapprovals, doctor visit copays, emergency room visits, and medical procedures. Also be familiar and take advantage of any preventative tests and procedures that are 100% covered.


Need more information on health insurance plans? Have questions about yours or curious if you can get a cheaper plan? JR Carnahan Insurance would be happy to help find the best solution for your specific needs!


Shop around for medical prescriptions

Always ask your doctor if there is a generic version of a medication as those are usually cheaper than the brand name. In addition, don’t just settle for the closest CVS, call different pharmacies to see what prices they can offer. Another option is to shop online for your ongoing prescription drugs.


Double check your bills and negotiate big ones

insurance companies and doctor offices are run by people, which means mistakes happen. Read your bills very carefully and check for errors. Make sure the math is correct and the procedures listed are what you actually received. If you end up in the hospital or undergoing an expensive procedure, always ask for an itemized bill to check for errors. Also talk with the billing department to see if they offer discounts for paying in cash, payment plans, or financial aid.


Use a flexible spending account

Using a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) allows you to contribute pretax dollars to an account to be used for medical expenses only. Some employers might even match or contribute to the account also. This deduction not only lowers your taxable income, but it can also be used on things like toothpaste, band aids, shampoo, and over the counter medications. Check with your employer or the bank to see what can be purchased with your account.


Prevent, Prevent, Prevent!

The best way to save on medical costs is to stay healthy. Eating right, exercising, drinking water, and getting enough sleep can contribute to a healthier future and thus, a deeper pocket. Visit your primary care physician annually to stay on top of rising conditions that could be prevented with a few simple lifestyle changes.
Even with the rising health care costs, you don’t have to pay and arm and a leg for your medical needs. Taking the time to shop around, save up, and live a healthy lifestyle is worth it!