Even with insurance, healthcare is expensive, but delaying medical treatment can be even more costly, and dangerous to boot. So how can you navigate the medical system while staying afloat financially? By making smart decisions about your care – both preventative and when sick – you can cut your medical costs and live healthier. Here are 5 easy ways to start.
Getting vaccinated is the easiest and least expensive way to stay healthy – and help others stay healthy too. This includes everyone from the first rounds of immunizations that children receive when they’re young to the all important boosters that adults need to maintain immunity. Many of the illnesses that we vaccinate against are virtually eradicated – or would be if we could maintain higher compliance rates – but we’re seeing illnesses like measles and whooping cough come back rapidly as people skip their shots.
Don’t forget about your annual flu shot as well – though it may not protect against all strains of the virus, the flu can be very dangerous for young children, the elderly, and those with suppressed immune systems. Flu shots are often available free in the community, so there’s no reason to opt out.
Keep Track Of Medical Deductions
If someone in your family sustains a major injury or has a chronic illness, you may be able to take advantage of medical deductions on your taxes in order to reduce the impact of those costs and increase your tax refund. In order for these deductions to apply, your medical expenses need to be more than 10% of your adjusted gross income. Make sure to save all your receipts, because the deductions will also need to be itemized.
Mind Your Skin
Skin cancer is one of the most common but also most treatable forms of cancer, but it’s important to be proactive. Always wear sunscreen when outside, even if you don’t think you’ll get a sunburn, and see a dermatologist right away if you notice any unusual growths. Doctors can easily remove benign and pre-cancerous growths, helping you avoid more serious illness and treatment down the line.
Research Your Prescriptions
It may come as a surprise to know that prescriptions cost different amounts depending on where you buy them, and it’s easier to shop around for them than you might think. Apps like GoodRx can help you find out what neighborhood pharmacy has your prescriptions for the lowest cost. Additionally, look for programs where you can get $4 generics if that’s less than your insurance copay. You may need to fill your prescriptions at more than one pharmacy, but the savings can be worth the inconvenience.
See A Student Dentist
Dental care is one of the most common health concerns families skip, as it may not be covered by your insurance and can quickly get expensive. However, skimping on dental care can cause major problems over time, requiring more dramatic and pricy procedures. To get regular care without breaking the bank, visit your local dental school where you can receive reduced price procedures in exchange for helping students learn the art.
By being proactive, you can prevent big medical expenses from sneaking up on you. So get your shots, see the dentist, and take care of yourself and your loved ones from the start to avoid big medical costs in the future.