Smart spend­ing can keep your health care from cost­ing an arm and a leg.  With costs ris­ing on every­thing from gas to food, every pen­ny counts. It pays to shop smart – that is why it helps to learn how to take steps to lim­it your out-of-pock­et health care costs.

  1. Save Mon­ey on Prescriptions
  • Go gener­ic – Always ask your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist if you can switch to gener­ic med­i­cines. They have the same active ingre­di­ents but cost less than brand name drugs.
  • Split pills – ask your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist if your pre­scrip­tion comes in a high­er dose that is safe to split. You may be able to get a 2‑month sup­ply of med­i­cine in dou­ble the dose that you need for the price of a 1‑month sup­ply, cut­ting your pre­scrip­tion cost in half.
  • Use a pre­ferred phar­ma­cy – A pre­ferred phar­ma­cy has pre-nego­ti­at­ed low­er prices on pre­scrip­tions for a par­tic­u­lar insur­ance plan. You can also sign up for home deliv­ery on pre­scrip­tions that you take on a reg­u­lar basis.
  1. Tune in to Telehealth

With telemed­i­cine, you don’t have to dri­ve to the doctor’s office or sit in a wait­ing room when you’re sick.  Vir­tu­al vis­its can be eas­i­er to fit into your busy sched­ule and you may not even have to arrange for child­care.  Doc­tors also can use tele­health appoint­ments to lessen expo­sure to oth­er people’s germs.

  1. Brush Up on HSA & FSA Eli­gi­ble Expenses

You can with­draw HSA and FSA mon­ey tax-free to pay for deductibles and co-pay­ments or coin­sur­ance, as well as for a vari­ety of oth­er expens­es includ­ing vision expens­es and ortho­don­tia.  You can also use it for every­thing from sun­screen and con­tact solu­tion to baby mon­i­tors and over-the-counter med­i­cine like Ibupro­fen or cold medicine.

  1. Save for Retire­ment with Your HSA

HSA funds don’t expire which makes an HSA a great way to put away mon­ey for med­ical expens­es in retire­ment.  An HSA offers a hat trick of tax advantages:

  • Con­tri­bu­tions to your account are made pre-tax, low­er­ing your tax­able income today
  • Invest­ments grow tax-free while they are kept in the account
  • With­drawals are free of income tax, as long as you use the mon­ey for qual­i­fied med­ical expenses.

Age 65 is when you can use HSA mon­ey to pay for non-med­ical expens­es — includ­ing day-to-day costs or for home ren­o­va­tions.  Those pay­outs aren’t tax-free but are taxed at the same rate as dis­tri­b­u­tions from a tra­di­tion­al IRA.  You’ll sim­ply owe income tax­es on what­ev­er you withdraw.

  1. Review Bills and Insur­ance Expla­na­tions of Benefits

Billing mis­takes can hap­pen.  In fact, did you know that up to 80% of med­ical bills con­tain at least one error?  Billing mis­takes hap­pen eas­i­ly when deal­ing with large num­bers of patients, ever-chang­ing med­ical codes, and pay­ments crossed in the mail and health insur­ance companies.

The por­tion of your bud­get devot­ed to med­ical care is always on the rise so it’s nev­er a bad idea to find mon­e­tary short­cuts where you can.   Knowl­edge is POWER and when you spend time find­ing ways to save mon­ey on health care, you are empow­er­ing your­self!  Exer­cis­ing due dili­gence to plan for you and your family’s med­ical needs will save you mon­ey and give you con­fi­dence in your deci­sions for care.