Healthcare costs have been a hot topic for the last several years. Part of the reason for that, of course, is due to the ever increasing costs which have risen sharply during the same period. Obama’s healthcare reform has appeared to make the situation at least as bad if not worse than it was before.
But unfortunately, we Americans are in the same boat: Stuck with the problem of how to make room in your budget for healthcare costs.
Re-examine Your Budget
One thing you may have to do in order to enable you to cover healthcare costs is slash some line items in your budget.
According a recent survey by Coupon Dash, some US families are giving up expenses that may be considered extras by some people. Meals out, gadgets, and vacations are just a few of the hard hit areas taking a cut in personal budgets so people can better afford to pay their healthcare costs. Some of these budget cuts may be justified.
For instance, getting healthy or staying healthy may be more important than eating out a couple of times a week. Instead, it’s possible you may have to limit that activity to only once or twice a month. In addition, you could save more on at home meals using coupons from sites such as Coupon Dash. Or, you may have to limit vacations to every couple of years instead of annually. Take a good hard look at your budget and see if there are areas you can make cuts in order to get the healthcare you need.
Limit Doctor Visits
Some people may actually overuse clinics and hospitals. Rather than going to the emergency room for every sniffle, wait it out and see if your illness will run its course. Also, go to the doctor on Friday instead of waiting until the weekend because you may end up with higher charges from an emergency room visit. Use walk-in clinic services, if your clinic has them. Be cautious enough to pay attention to your symptoms, though, so you can get help when true emergencies arise. But the point is to be smart about your healthcare so you can afford what you actually need.
Did you know you may be able to negotiate you healthcare costs to lower them? If you have a bill that is sizeable call your healthcare provider to see if they are willing to reduce the bill. Or, set up a payment plan with them. Don’t wait until you are threatened by a collection agency. At this point, the unpaid bill has probably already shown up on your credit report, lowering your credit score and damaging it for years to come.
Plan in Advance
Set up a Health Savings Account so you can save up for true healthcare emergencies when they come up. Put a little money each month toward this account so you can cover costs when they occur. Or, check with your employer to see if they offer a flexible spending account for healthcare. These accounts are set up to hold a little out of your paycheck and set it aside to be spent toward healthcare. The advantage is that they are pre-tax, which helps you come tax season. In addition, you may not notice the loss of that income as much when it comes out of your paycheck before you even get it.
It is true that healthcare costs have risen. It is also true that they won’t go down, but will likely continue to go higher in the future, a most expenses do. Although it may not be easy, there are ways you can make room in your budget for healthcare costs.
What ways have you had to make room in your budget for healthcare costs?