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5 Tips to Curb Rising Healthcare Costs

August 06, 2018

Did you know that using your health insurance plan the right way can save you money? Follow these five tips to keep your money where it belongs: in your wallet.

1. Small changes, big savings. A healthier lifestyle means fewer trips to the doctor. Studies estimate that obesity costs in the United States range from $147 billion to almost $210 billion per year. Estimates also show that obese adults spend up to 42 percent more on their health care costs than healthy-weight adults. Making lifestyle changes, like choosing healthier food and adding exercise to your day, can help you stay healthy and reduce your healthcare expenses in the long run.

2. Use your doctor and your benefits wisely. Preventive care is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. See your doctor for annual checkups and stay up-to-date on flu shots and immunizations. These immunizations don’t just keep you healthy – they save money, too. A 2009 study found that routine childhood immunizations among those born that year will prevent an estimated 42,000 early deaths, and result in a net savings of $13.5 billion in direct costs. Also, keep up with other recommended screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies (along with other preventive care based on your age and health history). The Center for Disease Control reports that Americans only use preventive services at about half the recommended rate, even though these important visits can help you avoid more serious and costly health problems.

3. Remember dental care. Cavities, root canals, and other extensive dental work are pricey. Not only that, but did you know that poor oral health may be linked to heart disease? Minimize your need for such high-cost procedures with regular preventative dental cleanings and exams. Studies show that every dollar you spend on this type of preventative care saves $8 to $50 of emergency and restorative treatments in the long run.

4. Use doctors in your plan’s network. Look for doctors and hospitals in your plan to keep your costs as low as possible. Remember choosing a doctor outside your plan can cost you more.

5. Choose generic. If you're on a name-brand medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist if a generic option is available to you. According to a report by the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), generic medications saved Americans $253 billion in 2016. Ninety percent of generic copays cost under $20, compared to just 39 percent of branded medications. You may also be able to utilize home delivery, which further cuts down on costs and makes it more convenient for you to get the medication you need.

Understanding the ins and outs of your health coverage is important for reducing overall costs. When you maximize your health insurance benefits and take care of yourself with preventative visits, you'll likely save in the long run.