Article | December 5, 2022

5 Tips For Managing the Cost of Healthcare

Plan & Retire

Elderly woman sitting on the couch

One of the biggest challenges people face today is finding secure financing and healthcare. Healthcare costs can often impact the decision of whether a person decides to retire, with many people staying employed and working longer than desired in order to not lose employer paid health care coverage.

Whether you are looking to manage individual medical costs, or medical services for a loved one, or if you and your family need a new healthcare plan, let’s look at seven ways that people can manage the cost of healthcare in the most effective ways possible. 

1. Prescription Drugs
A good place to start managing your health care costs is to save money on prescription drugs. You can first approach this by reviewing all of your medications and making a list. Once you have this list, you can do your own research to see if there are any generic equivalents. Generics have the same active ingredients and are just as effective as their name-brand counterparts, but in most cases will cost less and immediately begin to save you money.

Ready to get started? Find a plan that fits your budget and covers your doctor and prescriptions now.

2. Use Your Medical Benefits
Many people often overlook routine health screenings and other forms of regular care that can catch potentially harmful conditions in their early stages. The fact is that these routine tests and checkups can be vital to maintaining a high quality of health and or manage many medical conditions.

The following routine tests can keep you up to date and catch any possible issues before they become worse:

Regular physical exams

  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Skin checks
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Eye exams
  • Immunizations

For annual health screenings, vaccines, and wellness visits, you typically don’t have to pay a copay. Many insurance providers also offer health advocates who can help to make sure you get the most of your medical benefits. By using these and other services, you may learn of additional benefits you have access to, such as gym access or group health classes.

3. Plan for Hospital Visits
In the event that you need emergency care, it will be important to know ahead of time what your options are for medical care facilities. In many places, the costs of urgent care visits can be anywhere from $150 - $200, compared to a trip to the emergency room (ER) can cost upwards of $300 - $3000.

By taking the time to do an online scouting search for the nearest urgent care facilities near you, you can then identify which ones fall under your provider coverage.

By being prepared in this way, is another way to manage future health care costs and avoid high out-of-network costs.

4. Choose In-Network Health Care Providers
One of the issues that comes up with managing health care costs is finding a provider you trust. Maybe you have had a doctor for a long period of time, that opts out of Medicare or something changes where they are no longer covered. To avoid going out-of-network, and paying the price, the first thing to know is what kind of provider network you have:

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs): As the name suggests, these plans have preferred providers that have been selected for your use. While the insurance company does prefer you use their chosen, in-network providers, there is some flexibility with out-of-network coverage.

Point-of-Service (POS) Plans: Think of POS plans as a hybrid of HMO and PPO plans. You will likely have to choose a PCP within the health insurance plan’s network, but as with a PPO, you have the flexibility to go to out-of-network providers, perhaps just at a higher cost.

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs): With this type of plan, you will likely be more limited to the provider network of the HMO, and you will most likely need to choose a primary care physician (PCP) for all referrals. HMOs usually have lower premiums than other plan types.

Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPOs): With this plan, you are covered if you use doctors, specialists, or hospitals in the plan’s network (except in an emergency).

5. Choose the Right Health Plan for You
When deciding what health plan is right for you, think about the medical needs of you and your family. A plan with higher premiums, means that more of your health costs will be covered. This can be ideal for those with chronic health issues like diabetes, as it requires a significant amount of regular care. However, if you do not need this amount of regular care, it could be a better idea to select a plan with a higher deductible.