One Forbes article from 2011 notes that the Organization for Economic Development report in 2011 says Americans spend about $7,960 per person per year on health care. While this doesn’t all come out of pocket for American consumers, you can bet that a significant portion of your budget is going towards health care, either in the form of insurance premiums or in the form of co-pays and pharmacy costs.
Wondering how you can trim your health budget this year? Here are five simple ways to cut back on health care spending:
An article from Bank of America cites a shocking Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics: over ¾ of healthcare costs in America are due to chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and heart disease. Many of these conditions are completely preventable through physical activity, which can also reduce general aches and pains that might drive you to see a doctor more often. Getting just half an hour of moderate exercise per day can seriously decrease your risk of contracting these diseases and will make you feel better all-around.
2. Eat Well
Just as exercising more can reduce your health budget, so can eating better. Even if you have to increase your grocery budget to be able to fit in more wholesome, nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, you’ll reap greater rewards down the road when you spend less money on your health care. If you tend to shop with a grocery credit card in order to gain rewards that will save you some money on your groceries over the long run, check out this link for some good grocery credit cards that can make shopping for healthier groceries just a little easier on your wallet.
3. Participate in Employer Programs
Many employers that offer health insurance these days also offer employee health incentive programs that can reduce your health care costs. Often times, participation in these programs is as easy as having an annual physical or filling out an online health survey that will help you pinpoint potential problem areas when it comes to your own health. These programs will often reduce the amount you spend on health care premiums, which can put more money back in every one of your paychecks.
4. Shop Around
All too often, we fail to look at healthcare as consumers. While you certainly want to make sure you’re getting good healthcare from a practitioner with whom you are comfortable, you do have the ability to shop around for your health care. Check around with different hospitals and physicians on the costs of x-rays, tests, and even surgeries. Doctors will often perform surgeries at various hospitals, some of which will come with lower costs, and you may even be able to save a fortune on tests and diagnostics from independent facilities just by having your doctor write you a requisition form so that you can get your tests done wherever you want.
5. Switch to Generics
If the co-pay for your prescriptions is killing your health budget, consider switching to generics. Most of the time, generic drugs are clones of brand-name drugs, and other times they are therapeutically equivalent. While there are a very few cases where you should take a brand name drug because that is absolutely the best health option for your needs, these cases are quite rare, and generic drugs will usually work just fine.
While working out, eating right, and shopping around for your health care needs may take a little more work than you’re doing right now, these five steps can really save you money when it comes to health care. Plus, the first three steps on this list can actually help you become a healthier, more energetic person. What could be more priceless than that?