Many Americans worry about the high cost of healthcare. Unfortunately, for many of us, skimping on healthcare is not an option. Fortunately, there are ways to save.
It may require a little more work on your part, but a small investment now can mean significant savings later.
Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:
#1 Buy generic
Buy the generic form of a medication rather than the brand-name version. By law and according to the FDA, approved generics must be “bioequivalent.”
This goes for both prescription medications and those sold over-the-counter. Brand-name drugs can be significantly more expensive, so don’t fall into this trap.
#2 Buy online from abroad
Other countries offer pharmaceutical drugs at significantly lower prices because their drug industries are more strictly regulated than in the United States.
You can, therefore, save significantly by buying abroad. Prescription drugs are available from websites like Rx Connected, a Canadian pharmacy referral service that connects patients to international and Canadian pharmacies.
However, be sure to exercise caution when buying anything online. Use common sense; if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
For example, claiming you don’t need a prescription to access a drug when you do is a red flag. Legitimate services like Rx Connected will always ask for a prescription and will only source from pharmacies and fulfillment centers that have met strict standards set by their respective governing authorities.
#3 Find a community health center
Community health centers, located in designated “medically underserved” areas like rural and inner-city communities, are free or low-cost.
They also offer a comprehensive array of services underneath one roof. You can find one near you by searching here.
#4 Understand your benefits…and take advantage of them
Understand your health insurance benefits, and make sure you’re taking full advantage of your plan.
You might not think you need to get your teeth cleaned now, but several years down the road, when you’re no longer under generous dental insurance and require a costly root canal, you’ll be wishing you took better care of your smile.
#5 Get educated about health
You can make better healthcare decisions – such as when shopping for an insurance plan – when you are better educated about health.
Being able to estimate the level of care you need for the symptoms you have can also help (see #7). For general health research, stick to reputable sources like Medline Plus, which is run by the National Institutes of Health.
Of course, NEVER attempt to self-diagnose an illness. Diagnosing yourself is dangerous and it may cost you more than extra money in the long run.
#6 Use a free nurse hotline
You don’t need to rush to the ER for every little ache and pain. If you suspect a minor health problem, take advantage of the many free help lines staffed by nurses across the country.
Check your local hospital or insurance plan website to see if you can access one. A qualified nurse can answer your health questions or refer you to higher-level care should you need it.
#7 Don’t skimp on preventive care
Protecting yourself by taking simple, preventive actions like getting the flu shot every winter can save you money, not to mention pain! Vaccinations are one of the easiest, most effective ways to defend against illnesses.
Before traveling abroad, don’t forget to visit a travel clinic and see what vaccinations you need there too. Even if it’s just mildly annoying, illnesses like the flu and common cold can make you miss work, significantly impacting your income.
#8 Live a healthier lifestyle
The best way to save on healthcare is to not get sick in the first place. Living a healthier lifestyle is your best bet towards the most disease-free life possible.
You don’t need to shop inexpensive grocery stores or wield a costly gym membership to be healthy. Simply eat home-cooked meals and exercise outside!
Other habits like wearing sunscreen, getting enough rest, and washing your hands frequently can save your doctor visits and medication costs.
Lastly, don’t forget about self-care. Mental stress begets physical stress, making you more vulnerable to illness. (Besides, therapy is expensive!) The bottom line is: if you take care of your physical and mental health, your financial health will follow.
What are you doing to cut back on healthcare cost in 2019?