Health care costs are one of the most common household expenses. It’s also the most costly. Picking the wrong health care insurance can result in thousands of extra out of pocket expenses.
Currently, Americans on average spend over $3000 per year in out of pocket expenses. In fact, one study by a Harvard Medical School found that over half of all bankruptcies are caused by medical bills.
These days, insurance plans are more complicated and many of them can sound great but come with high deductibles and co-pays with a small network and high out of network expenses. Many employers offer plans that have high deductibles, which means considerable out of pocket expenses. And prices for private insurance can vary a lot depending on the benefits of the plan. Health care costs are rising.
Choosing the wrong health insurance can cost you thousands. Here’s a few things that you should consider when researching private health care that can help you save:
- Identify your needs: You may not be able to foresee a sudden illness or injury, but you can identify the needs that you have currently. You can identify your needs based on your own medical history and family history. Also, if you have a planned future event, such as a pregnancy, then you want to get maternity coverage.
- Don’t Over Buy: Now that you’ve identified your needs, you can tailor your coverage to the areas that you anticipate. Don’t overshoot. If you are young and healthy, you can choose a plan with a higher deductible as you are less likely to go to the doctor and incur too many out of pocket expenses. As you get older and have more need to visit the doctor more often, you can change your plan. Don’t pay extra now for things you don’t need.
- Know Your Network: You may already have a regular doctor or specialist that you like. Make sure that they are in the network of the plan that you are considering. Most policies cover more for in network doctors. Making sure that your doctors are within your network will save you money.
- Make sure your medications are covered: If you are on medications, check to make sure that they are covered on your plan as well. Medications can be expensive. This is one area that people often forget when they are looking into health insurance only to find out that their medications aren’t covered or pressured into changing to a generic brand.
- Compare different plans. It only takes a few moments to go review different health care plans. It’s worth the time to do a little comparison shopping to find the best affordable plan that meets your needs.
It’s important to take an active role on your health and wellness. It’s not surprising that those who are active participants in their own health and wellness save more money and of course in the long term have better health.
Beyond just picking the right health care, a healthy lifestyle will also pay off. I recommend doing a few things to generally stay healthier:
- Get in around 30 minutes of active time a day. This can be as simple as taking a walk or doing a few 10 minute exercise sessions. You don’t need to be a gym rat, but a few minutes of activity a day will do wonders for your general health.
- Eat healthy by making your meals more balanced. Adding some fruits and vegetables to your diet is always a good idea. When I was younger, I was more of a meat and potatoes person, but I’ve been trying to eat more balanced meals and can feel the difference in my general energy levels through the day and I feel healthier as well.
- Moderate or eliminate your bad habits. Drinking and smoking are the most common things that I would recommend cutting out.
These are just a few things that I recommend for keeping a healthier lifestyle. In combination with picking the right health care, you can save money and keep healthier in the long run.