Lessen the burden of an unexpected medical expense by taking proactive steps throughout the year.
Did you know that out-of-pocket spending on healthcare jumps approximately 60% in the week after people get their tax refunds? For many, their refund is the biggest single payment households receive all year.
This suggests the average consumer is delaying care until they can afford it. By not seeking medical care when needed, however, one’s health could worsen and cause costs to rise. Instead, attempt to lessen the burden of an unexpected medical expense by taking proactive steps throughout the year.
Build An Emergency Savings
In 2020, the United States dealt with unexpected challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report from the Federal Reserve found that more than four in ten adults went without medical care because of their inability to pay, COVID-19 concerns, or both.
Regardless of whether or not you’re insured, it’s best to prepare for the unexpected and have money set aside for necessary, urgent matters. For example, while getting a stylish new pair of glasses you don’t need can wait, there are things that can’t – and insurance doesn’t cover it all.
Consider Opening An HSA
If you have a high-deductible healthcare plan, establishing a Health Savings Account can be a great way to save for medical expenses. For one, your employer may match a portion of your contributions. Additionally, earnings and withdrawals are tax-free when used for qualified medical expenses.
Review Health Insurance Options
Open enrollment is a great opportunity to review coverage. While the preference would be to not overpay, high-cost insurance plans could be beneficial, especially if you’re aware of expensive upcoming medical procedures (like childbirth, surgery, or hip replacement). Pay more upfront to pay less overall.
Be A Smart Consumer
Smart shopping isn’t just for grocery shopping, but applies to healthcare as well. Familiarize yourself with coverage and deductibles, use in-network providers, and review medical bills for errors. Buy generic medications and buy pills in bulk to save money if and when it makes sense. Use discount cards like GoodRx when buying prescriptions.
Take Care Of Yourself
Last but not least, aim to practice self-care. Eat well, exercise, and work on overcoming habits that harm your body. Additionally, make it a point to regularly see a doctor. An annual check-up is usually free with most insurance plans. It’s best to be aware of issues early on to prevent the situation from escalating.