Improvising to Manage Healthcare Costs
America is facing a gargantuan problem in the form of unaffordable healthcare costs. This is hardly news to millions of people who struggle to pay for their basic medical care. According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, ‘Healthcare Costs for Americans are Projected to Grow at an Alarmingly High Rate’.
The stats indicate that healthcare spending comprised 17.9% of GDP in 2017, and is expected to hit 19.4% + of GDP by 2027. The dollar increase is substantial, from $3.5 trillion in 2017 to $6 trillion by 2027.
The biggest growth components of health spending are likely to come from government health insurance, with declining contributions from out-of-pocket expenses, and private health insurance.
This begs the question: Why are healthcare costs rising so rapidly?
There are many possible ways to approach this question, but all responses invariably lead in the same direction. For one thing, Americans are living longer. This places an outsized burden on healthcare needs.
The longer people live, the more they require from the healthcare system. This costs an insane amount of money. Another reason for rising healthcare costs is the extremely litigious nature of US society where malpractice lawsuits and liability insurance carry huge costs for doctors, clinics, and hospitals.
Pharmaceutical companies don’t make things any easier with prescription medication costs, where life-saving drugs like antiretrovirals, cancer drugs, biologics, and others cost thousands of dollars per month.
Other ‘common core’ drugs like statins, pain medications, anxiety drugs, and the like are certainly not cheap in the US at all. In fact, the very same drugs are available at cut-rate prices across the border in Canada, or Mexico – away from the FDA.
The illicit pharmaceutical markets of India, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, and Singapore, et al are doing a roaring trade expressly for this reason.
What Can You Do to Cope with Rising Medical Costs?
Medical insurance is expensive – there are no two ways about it. However, coverage options vary from one insurance provider to the next. Generally speaking, the more coverage you get the more expensive the plan.
Deductibles play a big part in the overall cost of health care insurance. A deductible is an out-of-pocket expense that must be paid before the health care plan pays for medical expenses.
Plans with low deductibles have higher premiums than plans with high deductibles – that’s the trade-off. In any event, it’s important to carefully read the fine print of the plan to ensure that it dovetails with your healthcare needs.
Since pre-existing conditions are built into every plan, by law, this isn’t an issue with healthcare providers. However, if you are generally healthy you may just need a health care plan for emergency room care if that arises.
By contrast, people with immunocompromised systems will have frequent doctors, specialists, and hospitals more often. This necessitates a fully comprehensive healthcare plan to prevent massive out-of-pocket expenses.
Viewed against this rather simplistic backdrop, there are certain takeaways that can help mitigate rising medical care costs.
HSA Accounts, FSA Accounts and Keeping Good Jobs
Healthcare Savings Accounts (HSA) are useful resources to save money for healthcare expenses. They offer tax savings to buffer against high deductible plans.
These types of options require contributions from your earnings but are tax-deductible. The money that goes into an HSA account is pre-tax, and it can be used to make payments on qualified medical expenses, including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a useful resource if you have a healthcare plan through your employer. With the FSA, you can deposit funds into the account to cover out-of-pocket expenses. Currently, the cap on FSA accounts is $2,650 per year, per employer.
These accounts do not require paying taxes on the money, which means that the tax savings are a benefit for an FSA account.
Jobs that provide healthcare coverage are naturally beneficial to people since the employer provides coverage for the employee. Usually, employers get much better healthcare plans than individuals are capable of doing on their own, particularly for the same price.
While all these options are always on the table, there are several other approaches that can be used to manage, mitigate, or reduce healthcare expenses.
Medical Credit Cards with 0% APR
If you find yourself in the unenviable situation where you must make a payment on hefty medical bills, consider 0% APR medical credit cards for paying your medical bills.
This option differs from traditional 0% APR credit cards which do not expressly cater to medical payments. Not only do these provide immediate access to the healthcare services that you need, but they also help to preserve your liquid cash for other non-medical emergencies that may arise.
Nowadays, with mass unemployment, job losses, and uncertainty, a 0% APR medical credit card is proving to be incredibly popular with people who need to meet the urgencies presented by healthcare bills.
Provided the balance is paid off within the specified period of time, no interest will be charged on the debt that you owe. Click here to find out which medical credit cards are most sought-after with 0% APRs.
Proactive Preventative Care for Your Health
As a conscientious individual, you may find benefit in taking an active role in your own health care.
Rather than waiting for a problem to balloon out of control, go for medical checkups twice a year to nip problems in the proverbial bud. This prevents a situation where you get blindsided by a major medical complication that requires significant healthcare coverage.
Another cost-effective way to manage your healthcare needs is to use telehealth services through your healthcare providers, such as MD Live and other options that are available.
Not only is this a much healthier way to ‘visit’ the doctor, but it’s also usually covered completely by your healthcare insurance. That means you don’t need to pay the fee for the doctor’s office, and you don’t need to make any effort other than answering your phone to have the consultation.