Health Article:
Save on Medical Expenses

by Linda Lovejoy, M.A.

As Featured On Ezine Articles

This health article focuses on teaching you how to save money on your medical expenses and health-related costs.

Medical expenses are skyrocketing:

  • Health care costs are now more than 16% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

  • Approximately 16% of the American population is uninsured.

  • Prescription drugs are the fastest growing sector of the national health care expense.

What can you do? Read this article to find out how to save on your medical expenses.

Here are some ideas to help you save on your medical expenses:

Make living a healthy lifestyle a priority.

One of the best ways to cut medical expenses is to live a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat healthy
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage your stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Get your yearly checkup
  • Educate yourself on health related topics
  • Solicit the support of friends and family to help you live a healthy lifestyle.

Maintain your ideal weight.

It is important to maintain your ideal weight because being overweight puts you at-risk for such conditions as Diabetes, Arthritis, back pain, sleep apnea, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Be knowledgeable about health insurance.

Shop around to the best plan to meet your needs. There are many sites on the web that make it easy for you to get FREE health insurance quotes from several companies.

Read the small print on your policy. Know your deductibles, co-pays, caps, exclusions, providers in network, and formulary lists associated with your plan. All health insurance is NOT the same. The best time to find out about the small print clauses is before you need to submit a claim.

Coordinate your family’s health insurance plans.

Examine both your spouse’s and your health insurance plan to chose the best coverage for your family’s needs. Many married couples maintain separate health insurance coverage or duplicate coverage even though it may not be cost effective.

Manage your prescription costs.

Here are several ideas to help you manage your prescription expense:

  • Ask for free samples of your prescriptions from your doctor.
  • Use home delivery pharmacy services for your maintenance drugs. It is possible to get a 3-month supply of your prescription at a reduced rate.
  • Use Canadian Pharmacies if allowable in your area.
  • Utilize Pharmacy Checker to find the best price for your medications.
  • Ask for a generic equivalent of your script if available.
  • See if you qualify for a Prescription Assistance Program (PAP).

Utilize cost saving strategies.

See if any of these cost saving strategies will work for you:

Find a Free Clinic Near You

  • Call 211 (if available in your area) to find FREE or low cost health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, osteoporosis, and mammograms in your area.
  • Stay in network.
  • Participate in your insurance companies wellness programs - Most Diabetes Wellness programs provide the participants with free testing supplies. This can save you money and promote more consistent monitoring of your condition.
  • Raise your deductible or co-pay.
  • Negotiate fees with your doctor.
  • Check your medical bills of accuracy.
  • Only use the emergency rooms for emergencies.
  • Use outpatient services if appropriate.

    Keep meticulous track of your medical expenses.

    You can deduct your medical expenses if your total medical expenses are over 7½% of your adjusted gross income. Did you know you could deduct the mileage to and from medical appointments? IRS Publication #502 details allowable deductions.

    Consider a Flexible Spending Account.

    If your employer offers a flexible spending plan you may be able to deposit pretax dollars in a health savings account. You are then reimbursed for your out-of-pocket medical expenses such as prescriptions, vision care, dental care, and co-pays. Read your company’s literature on their Flexible Spending Account as some conditions may apply. IRS Publication #969 provides more detail on Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax Favored Health Plans.

    Get Free or Low Cost Insurance for Children.

    Insure Kids Now! is a national initiative to link working families with their state’s free or low-cost health insurance program for children and teens.

    Cash in on Free Samples and Risk-Free Offers.

    Many companies offer free samples and risk-free offers to introduce you to their products. This is a great way to try before you buy.

    Note: Some companies will set you up on auto-ship after sending you your first sample of their product. So it is important to READ THE FINE PRINT so you call in within the specified time to turn off the auto-ship option so you are not sent and billed for products you may not want to continue to receive.

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    This page was last updated on 6/15/06.