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The cost of healthcare continues to rise with no end in sight. This is especially hard on the elderly and younger people with severe health problems or disabilities. However, you can take steps to reduce your own or a family member’s healthcare costs. Here are eight tips to help you save money on your healthcare.

1. Save Money on Your Meds

There are a few ways to reduce the cost of your medications, including:

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about switching to generic medicines. A generic contains the same active ingredient but is cheaper than the brand-name drug.
  • Ask your provider to periodically review your medications to determine whether any might be eliminated.
  • Depending on your healthcare needs and income, you may qualify for a drug assistance program (patient assistance program) offered by some pharmaceutical companies.
  • Websites such as Medicine Assistant Tool and Needy Meds may provide help.
  • Some insurance plans and several states offer assistance programs. Check with your health plan and your local government website.
  • If you are over 65, Medicare Part D provides supplemental drug coverage.

2. Make Use of Your Insurance Benefits

Your healthcare plan comes with certain benefits that you might not be aware of, such as:

  • Routine screenings that can catch health issues early when they are more easily treatable. And you often don’t incur copays for annual well visits, health screenings, and vaccines.
  • Access to a health advocate or case managers. An advocate can help you get the most out of your benefits. A case manager can assist you in managing health problems such as asthma or diabetes.
  • Free or discounted services such as eyewear or gym membership.

3. Have a Plan for Urgent Care

When an unexpected illness or injury happens, you need to decide whether you should call your provider, visit an urgent care clinic, or go to an emergency department. You will save both time and money if you see your provider or use an urgent care center. Plan ahead by locating the nearest urgent care facility.

4. If Possible, Go as an Outpatient

If you need a procedure or surgery, find out if it can be done at an outpatient clinic which will cost less than in a hospital.

5. Choose In-Network Providers

Depending on your type of health coverage, you may choose to see providers who are in-network or out-of-network. You will pay less to see in-network providers.

6. Take Care of Your Health

It should be obvious, but you will save money on healthcare by staying healthy. Controlling your weight, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake all lower your risk for health problems.

7. Choose the Right Healthcare Plan

Choosing a plan with higher premiums means more of your healthcare costs will be covered. This may be best if you have a condition needing regular care (e.g., diabetes). If you rarely need medical care, you may want to opt for a plan with a higher deductible.

8. Use a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

If you are still working, your employer may offer an HSA or FSA. These accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax money for healthcare expenses and save several hundred dollars annually.

Healthcare Costs: Final Thoughts

Successfully reducing your healthcare costs will ease stress and enable you to focus more energy on managing your health and happiness. And, if you live in Columbia, SC and you or a loved one need in-home care, please talk to Caring Healthcare to see how we can help.