FRUGAL LIVING TIP OF THE MONTH: REDUCE HEALTH CARE EXPENSES

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How Much Can You Save? $500 or more per month

Making It Work:

Health care expenses have been on the rise for years and continue to be a major expense for nearly every household. As the costs increase for the care itself, insurance costs also rise to meet them. It can be well worth the time to investigate ways to minimize these costs.

There are several tactics that can be used to reduce health care costs:

1. Use mail-order for drugs. This tip makes more sense if you routinely take the same medications on a regular basis. The savings can be as much as 70%. For many common, brand name drugs, this could mean over $1,000 per year in savings.

2. Get in shape and eat well. Many health issues are avoided, solved, or reduced by regular exercise and a healthy diet.

3. Utilize flexible spending accounts. These accounts avoid income taxes in most cases. You can then dip into the account to take care of any medical expenses that occur during the year.

4. Take advantage of wellness benefits through your employer. Many larger companies provide insurance premium discounts if you’re willing to participate in various health programs.

5. Offer a lower amount. If you receive a large bill from a medical provider and can’t afford it, see if they’re willing to accept a smaller amount as payment in full. They might be willing to settle for less if they realize your funds are limited.

6. Review your hospital bill. Hospital bill errors are common. You might need to ask for a copy that you can actually understand. It’s common for a bill to consist of nothing but codes and dollar amounts. Ensure you received every procedure, test, and drug. Be assertive and ask questions.

7. Get on an appropriate insurance plan. The best plan for a 24 year-old in great health probably isn’t the best insurance plan for an obese 54 year-old with high blood pressure and diabetes. Find a plan that works for you, taking into account your age and health.

8. Avoid the emergency room. There are times that an emergency room is absolutely necessary. However, many emergency room visits could be avoided by visiting an urgent care center. The 2average emergency room visit is approximately $1,000. Compare that to the $75 an urgent care center charges.

Since medical care and insurance is so expensive, investigate your options for reducing your costs. There are a variety of ways to reduce your annual health bills. Making an effort to live a healthy lifestyle might be the most important cost-saving strategy of all.

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