In 2020, 8.6% of Americans did not have any healthcare plan. That's approximately 28 million American citizens without a healthcare plan. It was a risk many were willing to take because of how complicated and expensive healthcare can get.
From 2018 to 2020, public health insurance coverage reached 34.8%. That's a 0.4% increase in two years. This goes to show that even when things get expensive and complicated, people will still find a way to get insurance. One way they do so is by working out ways to save money on it.
Choosing a health care plan can be daunting. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is best for your needs. If you're looking for ways to save on your health care plan, here are a few tips that might help.
#1 Make As Few Non-Generic Purchases As You Can
When you're purchasing non-generic products, you're often paying for something a bit different than what you need. This means that these products may be more expensive and require insurance coverage. Additionally, they may not be as effective as generic products or have potential side effects.
If you can avoid making non-generic purchases by sticking to generics whenever possible, your health care plan will likely save money in the long run.
#2 Open an HSA
There were over 32 million HSAs in the U.S. by the end of 2021. An HSA is a type of health savings account that allows you to save money for medical expenses tax-free. That means your contributions are not taxed, and the money can be used later to reimburse yourself for qualifying medical expenses.
An HSA has two big benefits. First, you get a tax deduction on your contributions upfront. Second, when it comes time to withdraw funds from your account to pay for qualified health costs (i.e., doctor visits and prescriptions), those withdrawals go back into the account. Thus, they don't count toward your income or affect your eligibility for public assistance programs like Medicaid (if applicable).
For example, let's say you make $40,000 per year and put away $3,000 each year in an HSA. If your employer contributes another $1,000 each year into the same account, after 40 years of saving at these rates, when you retire, you will have accumulated about $140K worth of savings. Plus, any interest earned over time that isn't withdrawn from the account will continue growing tax-free until retirement age (65).
#3 Shop Around
The best way to save on your health care plan is to shop around for the best deals. Take the time to do your research and get quotes from different providers. Don't be afraid to switch plans if you find one that meets your needs at a better price point, or ask for a discount if you're already signed up with an insurance provider.
#4 Delay Care If Possible
If you can, delay care. You might be able to put off seeing a doctor if your symptoms are mild and you don't want to waste anyone's time or money. This is especially true in the case of a non-emergency, where even an appointment at the emergency room could cost several hundred dollars.
If you can't delay care, consider self-care. Many common ailments can be treated with over-the-counter remedies that are just as effective at relieving symptoms as prescription medication from a doctor would be. In many cases, people find that self-care is all they need.
Don't hesitate to visit a doctor in an emergency. Ideally, delaying care should never even be an option. However, if you are running low on cash and must save money at the same time, you might consider it to a small extent.
#5 Talk With Your Healthcare Consultant Directly
One of the best ways to save on your healthcare plan is by talking with your healthcare consultant directly. A good healthcare consultant will be able to help you find a plan that fits your needs and budget while minimizing any potential issues or conflicts in coverage.
Many healthcare insurance providers will only talk about the details in person and not over the phone. It's a common practice in many healthcare insurance companies across the United States, especially in Connecticut. When going through medicare supplement plans in CT, you'll be asked to meet a representative directly. They want to ensure that you understand all the terms and conditions. Nothing remains hidden in these contracts or plans if you can talk to the consultants directly.
#6 Find a Plan That Fits Your Needs
Don't just choose the cheapest option because it will probably have a high deductible and limited coverage. Ask about co-payments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses such as prescription drugs or emergency room visits. You might also want to look into any extra benefits of your new plan, like dental or vision coverage or even free gym memberships.
#7 Switch Plans If Needed
If you're not happy with your current health care plan, it's a good idea to consider switching. You can do this at any time, and there are no penalties for doing so, though there may be fees associated with changing plans.
If you're young and healthy, look into high deductible plans, which tend to have lower premiums because they cover fewer services. If you're older or have chronic conditions that require frequent visits to the doctor, going with a PPO could make sense because most of their services are covered by insurance.
Health care is expensive and can be very confusing to navigate. You can save money on your health care plan by looking at the ways discussed above. If not all of them, at least a few of these ways will surely help you save money on your healthcare plan.