Budgeting for healthcare costs can be stressful but is very necessary!
Even with good insurance, there might be things that are not covered under your health care insurance.
Just as with many things in life you HAVE to pay for, there are ways to save a couple of extra dollars on our health care expenses.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission or other benefit at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting The Daily Change Jar.
Want access to the Free Printables Library with loads of resources for saving money, making a side income, and managing the money you already have? Enter your info below to get instant access to all the FREE goodies!
Let me know where to send your FREE access to my resource library of frugal resources and entrepreneurship trainings!
I have invited guest contributor Mary Early here today to share her insights on how to stack on the savings when calculating your healthcare costs.
Healthcare Budgeting Hacks
Sometimes, no matter how well you prepare, your best saving efforts can barely cover the cost of an unexpected health bill. A few years ago, I had an awful kidney stone. Between the ambulance ride to the hospital, MRI, and medication, I was financially scrambling for weeks after the incident.
So, even with insurance, I have to find ways to cut corners. Safely, of course! I’m not going to the dentist in some random person’s basement. You should never compromise your health to save a buck. However, there are ways to be fully prepared for an incident and maintain your health in the meantime that won’t put you in the red.
Here are some healthcare hacks I’ve followed to help surprise medical bills from feeling too overwhelming.
1. Budget Costs
First let’s address the most obvious: budgeting.
To make sure you’re prepared, you should budget for healthcare costs. Don’t just plan on paying your premiums. You should also put aside some money every month to cover unexpected medical costs or medications. Ideally, you should have your annual out-of-pocket maximum set aside so that if you need healthcare, you can access it easily without worrying too much about finding the funds for co-pays or deductibles.
An H.S.A is a hassle-free way to manage unexpected healthcare budget. You can either deduct money from your income at tax-time or your employer may give you the option to have it removed from your paycheck before taxes are taken out. Once you’ve figured out your annual health care budget, you can put that amount into your HSA to cover expected health care costs. The funds roll over from year to year, so HSAs are great for saving up in case of a medical emergency or a big health care expense like having a baby.
2. Shop Around
Healthcare is a commodity, and just as you look around for the best prices on clothing, food, cars, and other products, you also need to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal on insurance and healthcare. Try to look over your insurance plan and weigh other options once a year. You may want to consult with an agent to help you. When you need work done or medications, also pay attention to the costs and benefits of each option.
You might also like…
- Debt Consolidation – How It Is Becoming The New Way of Saving?
- Family Budgeting Basics-What You Need to Know
- Adulting 101: The 6 Types of Insurance You Need & Why!
3. Take Advantage of Free Screenings
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you can detect health issues before they get out of control, you increase your chances of surviving the issue while also lowering the amount of healthcare you’re likely to need. In that vein, always go for free screenings. Most insurance plans cover routine screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes, and other issues. Some communities also hold free events where you can get these tests done.
I take advantage of the CVS free screenings. They’re comprehensive, CVS provides a free screening that covers a variety of basic screening needs. You can find a participating CVS here.
4. Track Your Medical Expenses
Make sure to track what you spend during the year. As of 2019, if you spend more than 10% of your adjusted gross income (that’s your income after deductions have been subtracted) on healthcare costs, you can claim the excess as a tax deduction. For instance, if your adjusted gross income is $40,000, you can deduct any healthcare costs about $4,000. Usually, this only applies to unreimbursed costs. It doesn’t include insurance premiums.
5. Stay Out of the Hospital for Imaging and Routine Tests
In a lot of situations, you can choose to stay out of the hospital. In particular, if you need an MRI, another imaging test, or really any routine test, you don’t have to book that in a hospital. Instead, you should find an imaging center or a clinic to help you.
Unfortunately, the emergency rooms in hospitals usually run at a loss. That’s because ERs are required to treat and stabilize anyone who walks through their doors. As a result, the rest of the hospital has to charge more for its procedures in order to supplement the cost of other patients. In contrast, when you go to an imaging center, the center isn’t leveling MRI cost for at-risk patients because it’s uniquely focused on imaging. Imaging Centers tend to have better equipment that’s used more often and extremely experienced staff members.
To save money on healthcare, always be aware of what you’re spending, take time to research the most cost-effective options, and track your expenses. Most importantly, be diligent about getting the care you need in a timely fashion so that you detect issues before they get out of control.
Mary Early is a Content Specialist at AIS Media. She is passionate about personal finance and writes for a variety of finance-related topics that she wants to share with everyone!
What do you do to save on your healthcare expenses?
The Frugal Girl's Guide to Meal Planning
Enter your name and email and grab The Frugal Girl's Guide to Meal Planning like a Boss! Save time and money by meal planning the easy way!