COVID Is Raising Healthcare Costs, Are You Prepared?

Image by: [Ahmad Ardity]

It’s no surprise that COVID has caused medical costs to skyrocket.

Start preparing to have your ducks in a row for your health, while keeping your hard-earned money in your pocket. Here are seven steps below to get the most out of your healthcare.

Strategically plan for retirement

Whether you’re concerned about the rising costs of healthcare or simply looking to have better financial management during the COVID era, planning for retirement ahead of time is incredibly beneficial. It can be easy to prioritize short-term situations or goals, especially with the increase in prices within the healthcare industry, but it can pay off to plan early in the long run.

The most crucial step to take in planning for your future is to consult an independent financial advisor. Ron Carson, a Personal Finance Specialist at Forbes, advises that a financial advisor can help you develop a comprehensive strategy that will take all the hard work out of the equation.

They can analyze your key retirement risk factors such as long-term care, longevity, and the continuously rising cost of healthcare. Healthcare is one of the costliest expenses we need to plan for as we age, but it often gets overlooked.

Invest in your health and wellness

It can seem easier said than done but maintaining or getting a head start on your wellness is one of the best ways to prevent long-term health concerns. People even agree with the CDC that physical activity is one of the best ways to avoid chronic illnesses.

Gone are the days when exercising had to be pricey – there are many ways to gain access to online workouts with free trials on subscription services such as Les Mills or Peloton. Drop by your nearest supermarket, and you can be sure to find exercise equipment like dumbbells or mini trampolines on the shelves.

Maintaining a healthy diet and weight is also a great way to prevent health concerns related to obesity.

Begin using an HSA or FSA

You can gain access to a Health Care Savings account or a Flexible Spending Account through most employers, and some can even be set up on your own. Essentially, they are savings accounts you can use or contribute to set aside pre-tax money for healthcare expenses.

Using an HSA or FSA is a strategic way to save hundreds per year, plus you completely own HSAs! They can even earn interest and can be transferred over to another employer should the need arise.

FSAs, as described by MedlinePlus, are the opposite: they are wholly owned by your employer and are required to be used within one calendar year. They also do not collect interest.

Shop around for a health or insurance plan

Selecting a health or insurance plan can be overwhelming. There are many options available on the internet nowadays, but it’s always best to browse and consider the healthcare needs of both you and your family.

If you select a plan with more healthcare coverage, the higher your monthly or biweekly premiums will be. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or frequent the doctor’s office often, this can be a great way to plan, but if you rarely require medical assistance, a lower coverage plan might be your best friend.

If you can’t figure out which plan is best for you and your family, don’t be afraid to ask health or insurance experts for help. They can help you find promotions, lower prices, or more help.

Reduce costs on medicines

MD Linda J. Vorvick has informed us of various ways to reduce the costs of your medications. Paying for prescription medicines out-of-pocket can rack up your budget, but the great news is that there are a few tricks to help along the way.

One of the most underestimated but effective ways to reduce medical costs is to switch your brand-name drugs to generic. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that a generic drug is just a copy of the brand name and is proven to be just as safe and effective as the brand name. The only reason the brand-name drug ends up costing more is due to advertising and research.

Make sure you ask your pharmacist or doctor if there’s a generic version of the drugs you’re taking, or if there is a cheaper, similar option for the ones you’re already taking.

Take advantage of the benefits available to you

Though many people are unaware, many healthcare benefits are available without costing a dime. One of the most important would be booking routine screenings!

Routine screenings or check-up visits are often free and can be your best bet to catch and prevent health problems early on. Not only can this save you considerable time down the road with your finances, but there’s nothing better than knowing that your health is in tip-top shape. 

Don’t forget to take advantage of free and discounted services, too! Snatch up those discounts on things like gym memberships, eyewear, or online doctor services provided by health or insurance plans.

Create an emergency care plan

This last point is anything but the least important. Planning for emergencies or urgent care could be considered one of the best ways to save on your medical bills. When an urgent illness or healthcare matter occurs, it’s up to you to decide how serious it is and how quickly you need to seek medical advice.

Knowing whether you need to call someone like 911 or a healthcare provider, attend an urgent care clinic, or request emergency care can help alleviate stress about your health and your wallet when you’re already got a plan.

You can save both money and time if you plan, especially if you care for children or other family members. Know which healthcare centers are closest to your home, work, and daycare locations, and ensure you’ve prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Chatting with your health care provider will allow you to remain confident and rest assured that you have the best course of action planned ahead of time during any medical emergencies.

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