The numbers are in, and experts are saying healthcare costs US consumers 3.2 trillion dollars in 2015. That works out to about 9,990 dollars per person. Compare those numbers to 1960, when healthcare cost 27.2 billion, or about 146 dollars per person that year. Back then, consumers only spent about 4 percent of their earnings on healthcare… What are you spending each year?
It’s no secret that the cost of healthcare in our country has risen dramatically in recent years. The causes behind this phenomenon are too complex to cover in a single blog, but they boil down to both government policy and changes in our lifestyles that have led to an increase in serious chronic illnesses.
For now, we all have to wait patiently as policymakers work out the problems within the system. But there are several things you can do to reduce your own spending on healthcare.
Adjust your lifestyle. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, but regular exercise and a healthy diet really do go a long way toward warding off serious health problems. And of course, habits like smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages are known to be harmful. Treat your body as you would an expensive vehicle; take care of it, and you’ll spend less on “repairs”.
Engage in routine care wisely. Routine screenings can catch serious illnesses early, when they are much easier (and affordable) to treat. On the other hand, we sometimes spend too much time and money worrying about diseases for which we are not at moderate or high risk. Talk to your doctor about which health screenings are really right for you.
Shop around. If you need a certain procedure, keep in mind that hospitals and same-day surgical centers can carry wildly different price tags. You want the best care, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to compare costs at several facilities first.
Negotiate. The prices of some services, such as dental care, can sometimes be negotiated.
Investigate community options. These aren’t often advertised, but many communities operate health centers where you can receive cheap or free dental care, or see a doctor for that case of the sniffles. Also look for urgent care centers in your area, which are almost always cheaper than a visit to the emergency room.
Talk to your doctor about your medications. Generic versions of popular drugs are almost always more affordable. Medications can also vary in price according to dosage, so ask your doctor if splitting higher-dosage pills might be appropriate in some situations.
Evaluate your healthcare plan. Sometimes it makes sense to switch to a new healthcare plan, to obtain a lower or higher deductible. We also have supplemental insurance options that can help to cover additional expenses not covered by your primary health insurance policy. Give us a call, and we will discuss your options.