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STONE: Health care savings tips

bryan pelts 6 years ago • updated by Stella Maris 6 years ago 1
Health care is expensive. Even with insurance coverage, the cost of treating yet the most basic of conditions can put a sizable dent to one’s wallet. According to the World Health Organization, the United States spends more on health care per capita than any other nation in the world. But, there are opportunities to save money when managing your health care needs. Many are easier than you think and the benefit may be more than you expect.

Start by shopping around. We often don’t think twice when comparing prices for groceries, at department stores, or on-line retailers but doing so for medications and health related services is a common oversight. Take prescription medications for example. Have you called different pharmacies to determine how much it would cost to fill your prescription? Not all pharmacies charge the same, and depending on your insurance plan, these charges can end up being more or less for your medications compared to others. And, if the medication is something you take routinely …
choosing the right pharmacy can add additional savings throughout the year.
When choosing insurance coverage, money is lost by choosing the wrong deductible plan. While low deductible plans can offer a higher percentage of payment coverage when services are used (such as doctor visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, etc.), that usually

equates to spending more for your coverage up front. Most people choose lower deductible plans thinking they will spend less out of their pocket. The reality is, many do not factor in how much they spend, per paycheck, in premiums versus what is actually used in health care services throughout the year.

If you or your family is blessed with overall good health, typically only see a doctor for a routine “check-ups”, and do not have medical conditions requiring continual needs … perhaps you should consider a plan at a higher deductible.
The reduced upfront costs, saved paycheck to paycheck, allow you to draw interest on your hard earned money as opposed to paying for additional coverage you may never use.
Also, inquire if your employer offers a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). FSA’s allow you to put aside pre-taxed dollars you can use toward medical expenses. In addition to lowering your taxable income, this allows you a dedicated savings plan to budget medical expenses throughout the year. However, it’s important you use all of the money saved into an FSA before year’s end.
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