4 Ways to Reduce Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Costs

Healthcare premiums, co-payments, and deductibles are on the up and up. With trends showing that these figures are bound to increase, it is necessary to take steps in reducing your healthcare costs. In this article, you will learn:

⦁ What a Health Savings Account (HSA) is and why it could help you decrease your medical expenses
⦁ The benefits of setting up a health emergency fund
⦁ Why you need to have copies of all of your tests and medical records
⦁ How eating a healthy diet helps you and the healthcare industry as a whole

1. Open an HSA if You Have a High-Deductible Health Insurance Plan
As reported by Nerd Wallet, an HSA is a great way to cut down on medical expenses and lower your taxes. However, know that not everyone qualifies.
HSAs are only an option for those with a high-deductible health insurance plan. In other words, those with an individual out-of-pocket deductible between $1,300 and $6,550 or family out-of-pocket deductible between $2,600 and $13,100. (Contact your insurance company for more information about this.)
If you qualify for this type of savings account, take advantage of it. While your HSA tops out per year (the maximum limit does increase with age), it rolls over to the next year, meaning that it will gradually grow tax-free.

Should you have a medical expense, as Nerd Wallet reports, you can always tap into it, tax-free. If you are older than 65 and have Medicare, you are unable to put more funds into your HSA, however, you can still pull funds out of it.
Other than pulling out funds for healthcare costs, you can take money from your HSA and invest it into stocks or other investments.

What If I Don’t Qualify for an HSA?
Those who do not qualify for an HSA can still set funds aside for medical expenses. In fact, it is recommended.
Having a health emergency fund plan in place saves you the trouble and worry when a medical situation occurs.
You never know, your daughter could break her arm playing soccer or your son could contract an eye infection. In which case, you can quickly access the needed money to pay for X-rays and the medication.

2. Copies, Copies, Copies

US News reports that having copies of your medical records and test results could save you time and money.
Instead of having to wait for your doctor’s office to fax over the results and records to the specialist’s or need to schedule another appointment, you have all of the documents with you for a right-then-and-there assessment.
With so many tests out there, you run the chance of possibly undergoing (and being charged for) the same test…again. Bringing your documents with you to the appointment rules that risk out.

3. Eating a Plant-Rich Diet Could Prevent You from Getting a Chronic Disease
Sadly, according to the Harvard Business Review, chronic illness makes up 85% of healthcare costs, which is partially why company-sponsored healthcare premiums have risen to 123% as of 2000.
The Atlantic reveals that you can decrease the chances of getting a chronic disease by eating real food, sticking to a mostly plant-based diet. Plant foods must come directly from nature, without preservatives and unhealthy fats in order for you to gain the most benefit from them.

4. Sleep Matters
From juggling your kid’s soccer practices and work to spending time with friends and family, it’s easy to think a good night’s sleep is a luxury. But it isn’t, and here’s why.

Sleep Impacts the Immune System

According to the Mayo Clinic, not getting enough sleep affects your immune system. When people are asleep, the Mayo Clinic explains, the body releases proteins called cytokines.

Cytokines not only help promote sleep but some are even needed when you are sick—or have inflammation or are under stress. Unfortunately, when you don’t get the required amount of sleep, your body releases a lower cytokine count.

Sleep Increases the Chances of Getting Sick

When you are sleep deprived, you put your immune system in jeopardy of catching a cold or an infection. Not only that but when you are sick, not getting enough zzzs slows down the healing process.

What this Means for Healthcare Costs

If you consistently don’t get enough sleep, you could be spending more time in the doctor’s office than need be.

By making sleep (and, in doing so, your health) a priority, you reduce the likelihood of needing to see your primary care physician, which means one less copayment to pay.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

According to the Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep a person needs depends on their age and lifestyle, among others.

From the Sleep Foundation chart, you can see that newborns need as much as 14-17 hours of sleep each day to older adults requiring 7-8 hours. That being said, check the Sleep Foundation chart to make sure you get the proper amount of sleep according to your age.
What Else You Need to Know About Sleep

Also, the Sleep Foundation, recognizes that alarm clocks, coffee, energy drinks (and caffeine in general) not to mention lighting can disturb your circadian rhythm.

Tips

So that you are able to get a good night’s sleep, make sure your room is dark. Also, stop drinking caffeinated beverages early on into the day and stop using electronics at least an hour before going to bed.

That way, your circadian rhythm isn’t nearly as affected by the light radiating from the devices. Again, this promotes more sleep, which can decrease the likelihood of getting sick and doling out unnecessary funds.

Final Thoughts
Healthcare costs are increasing, but that doesn’t mean you have shell out more money. You can save while looking out for your health by using these tips.
Also, look into installing and downloading health apps—whether from a small startup or large organization—to help you manage your health and prevent you from having to schedule a doctor’s appointment. How else can you save?

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