Health Care Affordable in the United States
Health Care Affordable in the United States
The cost of healthcare in the United States is widely known to be expensive, and it’s only getting more so each year. According to a report published by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2018, the average American family will spend over $26,000 on health care this year. That breaks down to about $10,000 for premiums, around $6,000 for deductibles, and another $6,000 or so for out-of-pocket costs. Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet that will make your healthcare costs go away completely. However, there are many things you can do to keep your expenses under control while not skimping on necessary services or procedures. These tips are especially useful if you have a limited budget or if you’re planning on enrolling in an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan soon. Let’s take a look at some ways you can keep your healthcare costs affordable:
Research your healthcare options before you need to buy
If you have a pre-existing condition, it can be especially important to choose your healthcare plan carefully. Some plans will charge you much more if you have certain pre-existing conditions, and others won’t even let you join if you have a pre-existing condition. This can be especially problematic if you’re not currently sick but expect to need healthcare in the future. While you don’t want to rush into a decision, it’s a good idea to start researching and comparing plans as soon as you know you’ll need health insurance. This will give you plenty of time to pick a plan that’s right for you and your needs, as well as shop around for the best deals. You may also be able to sign up for a plan with a lower rate or premium if you’re willing to wait until the last minute.
Don’t pay for unlimited coverage you don’t need
Some plans will lure you in with a low monthly rate by offering so-called “unlimited” coverage. While there may be some coverage you don’t have to pay for, there’s no such thing as “unlimited” in the real world. If you have a serious medical problem, your plan will almost certainly start putting limits on your coverage very soon. Most plans offer “caps” on your lifetime benefits. After you reach that cap, the insurance company will no longer pay for any of your routine or preventative care, and you’ll be on the hook for all of your own expenses. Unless you know you’re in good health and won’t need to go to the doctor very often, it’s best to avoid over-the-top coverage.
Check the small print and don’t be afraid to walk away
Health insurance providers are in the business of making money, just like everyone else. Because of this, you’ll find that most plans have some kind of fine print, as well as a “deductible” that you’ll need to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance company will start paying for anything. While these things can be frustrating, they’re also necessary. They allow the insurance company to make a profit while keeping premiums low enough for people to be able to afford to buy a plan. You may also have the option of paying a premium in exchange for a lower deductible. This may increase the amount of money you have to pay every month, but it could also save you a lot of money in the long run.
Check out Health Coaching and gym membership deals
If you’re not currently signed up for health insurance, there is still time to pick a plan for the year. However, you may only have a short amount of time to pick a plan before the enrollment period ends. You may also be able to get a short-term plan if you’re in a situation that makes it difficult to sign up for an ACA plan on time. If you don’t have the money to pay for a full-scale health insurance plan, look into getting a gym membership or health coaching membership. These are often much cheaper than conventional health insurance, and they can still provide you with access to a doctor or other important healthcare professionals.
Ask your doctor for generic medication options
Generics are often cheaper than brand-name drugs. However, they’re also sometimes less effective. If you’re currently taking brand-name medication, ask your doctor if you can switch to a generic version. You may still need to pay a small co-pay, but you’ll likely save a lot of money in the long run. If you’re on medication long-term, you may be able to get it “reimbursed” by your health insurance company. This means that your insurance company will pay for the medication, and you’ll then have to pay them back over time. If you have a serious, long-term condition, this can be a great way to save money on your medication. However, some medications may not be covered, or you may have to jump through a few hoops before your insurance company will start paying.
Take care of your physical health and well-being
Hardly anyone likes to think about this, but if you don’t take care of your physical health, it can really drive up your healthcare costs. If you have a chronic condition, you should make sure to take care of yourself as best you can. Avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and eating unhealthy foods. You won’t be cured, but these things can help you manage your symptoms and prevent serious or fatal health issues. If you catch something like a cold or the flu early, you can treat it at home rather than in the ER, which is much more expensive. Also, keep your doctor’s appointments and stay on top of your health screenings, like blood tests, pap smears, and so on. This can help you catch problems before they turn into serious, expensive issues.