12 Ways to Lower Your Health Care Expenses

0817 HealthCareYou may have heard it said "you can't put a price on good health." But anyone who has received a bill from a hospital or gotten sticker shock at the pharmacy, knows that health care in America today is very costly. In fact, managing rising health expenses can be one of the biggest challenges for families today. Here are some smart steps you can take to lower your family's costs:

  • Take care of yourself. If you eat well and regularly exercise, you can lower your risk of illness or injury.
  • See your doctor. Preventative care is key to maintaining good health, so be sure to visit your doctor and dentist for regular check-ups
  • Choose a higher-deductible health insurance plan. If you're healthy and don't go to the doctor more than a few times a year, you may consider choosing a health plan with a higher deductible, which will help keep your premiums lower.
  • Leave the emergency room for emergencies. Trips to the emergency room can be quite expensive, so try to go only when you need urgent care. For example, if you have a cold, visit your doctor before visiting an emergency room.
  • Get a flexible spending account. If your employer offers flexible spending accounts, be sure to sign up for one. This will allow you to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses while taking advantage of tax benefits.
  • Ask for generic drugs. Ask your doctor if there is a generic alternative for medicine prescribed, which could result in significant savings. Also, consider getting your medications at large retailers, such as Walmart or Target, which offer set, low prices on generic drugs.
  • Get mail-order prescriptions. Depending on your health plan, you may also be able to lower your prescription costs by getting your prescriptions through the mail.
  • Protect yourself. If you lead an active lifestyle, be sure to take pre-cautions, including wearing protective equipment, such as a helmet, padding, and a mouthpiece.
  • Stay in network. If you have to see a specialist, make sure you stay within your health plan's network.
  • Follow doctor's orders. One way to avoid illness is to follow your doctor's advice. For example, if your doctor tells you to stay in bed and rest, do it.
  • Review your medical bills. If you receive a bill, be sure to go through all the line items to ensure accuracy. Medical bill errors are very common.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking not only presents health risks, but also will cost you more for insurance.

Follow these steps and you just may notice a healthy difference in your bank account.