Healthcare expenses are a leading cause of debt in America. It’s estimated more than 50 percent of personal bankruptcies are the direct result of healthcare expenses. The rising cost of medical care in America shows no signs of slowing. But there are ways to reduce out-of-pocket healthcare costs.
Here are five tips for spending less on healthcare.
1. Choose a Hospital that has a Contract Management System
Hospitals with healthcare contract management systems are able to provide patients with more affordable treatment options. That’s because administrative costs are a contributor to the high cost of healthcare in America. A contract management system helps get administrative costs under control.
An efficient contract management system helps hospitals:
– Provide better patient care
– Reduce administrative costs
– Mitigate risk
– Comply with legal healthcare requirements
A contract management system benefits hospitals and patients. It makes it easier for hospitals to operate as efficiently as possible. And hospitals with healthcare contract management systems are able to provide patients with more affordable treatment options.
2. Maintain Your Health
The best way to save money on healthcare is to take care of yourself. It’s possible to lower your risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol with diet and exercise.
Maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, and regularly exercising lowers your risk for several health problems. This helps you avoid the need for medications, medical tests, and treatments that are often expensive.
3. Save Money on Prescription Medications
The average American spends $177 yearly for out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. Some ways to reduce this expense include:
– Use generic medications. A generic drug has the same active ingredients as a name-brand drug. The only difference is that one drug has a brand name on it and the other does not.
For example, the drug acetaminophen is the same as Tylenol. The difference is Tylenol is a brand name. You can purchase generic acetaminophen for less than you’d pay for Tylenol. The same is true for several prescription drugs. You can save money by opting for the generic brand of prescription medication.
– Choose a cheaper name-brand medication that offers the same benefit. There are usually several medications that treat the same illness. And the price of medication is determined by its manufacturer. If one medication is too expensive, ask your doctor if there’s a less expensive option.
4. Use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a Health Care Savings Account (HSA)
HSAs and FSAs allow you to set aside pre-tax money for health care costs. And you don’t pay taxes when you withdraw funds for a qualified medical expense.
A high-deductible health insurance plan is needed to qualify for an HSA. And the government determines what qualifies as high-deductible. The government also determines how much you can contribute to an HSA.
An FSA is available only as part of a job benefits package. Unlike an HSA (which you own), you can’t get an FSA on your own. Any money you’ve saved in an FSA expires at the end of the year. In other words, you must use it within the year or lose it. The only exception is if your employee chose to provide a rollover option.
5. Use Outpatient Facilities
When possible, have surgeries and procedures performed at outpatient clinics. You can often get the same treatment performed at an outpatient clinic for less than you’d pay at a hospital.
Some people think outpatient facilities aren’t as good as hospitals. However, that’s not true. Well-trained professionals in outpatient facilities provide the same level of care provided to patients in hospitals. It’s cheaper because outpatient facilities have lower administrative expenses.
Look for More Ways to Save on Medical Expenses
The tips in this article should make your healthcare costs more manageable. But these tips are only a few out of many. Take time to research and see what other options you discover.