As healthcare costs continue to go up, it’s important to understand your healthcare benefits and plan for your family’s expenses. In the past 10 years, the cost of insurance and healthcare for a family of 4 has doubled from $9,800 to $19,800 per year and you’re paying about 41% of that cost yourself, or $8,118 per year. That’s your mortgage, dance lessons, braces for the kids, plus groceries, plus a car payment!
Use these 6 tips to start improving your health financially in 2013:
1. Gather Receipts for Qualifying Medical Expenses
If you haven’t already, make sure you’ve gathered all receipts for any qualifying medical expenses you used your FSA account to pay for in 2012. You should have those handy for tax time.
2. Replace Old ID Cards with the New Ones
Make sure you put the new 2013 ID cards in your wallet now. You don’t want to get to your doctor appointment in February only to remember your 2013 ID card is buried in a pile somewhere.
If your child’s school or daycare keeps a copy of your child’s insurance card or insurance information, make sure you provide a new, updated information if your plan has changed.
3. Be Aware of any Health Plan Changes
Something that may have been covered last year may not be covered this year. Or, better yet, maybe your plan offers more free preventive services or screenings this year. Take a few minutes and look over your plan documents. We know it’s not a riveting Saturday-afternoon read, but it could save you a lot of money.
4. Start Tracking Your Deductible Now
If you’re like most insured Americans, your health insurance has a deductible. This means, you have to pay a certain amount of money out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in. For some people it’s $500, for others it could be $10,000 or more.
When you start receiving care and get your EOBs (Explanation of Benefits), start a spreadsheet and track your deductible. Your insurance company may track it for you, but oftentimes there’s a 6-8 week lag. This is important to know because you should never pay $1 more than you owe.
5. Use Your FSA
If you’ve chosen to use an FSA (flexible spending account) in 2013, make sure you’re using it. Since it’s a use-it-or-lose-it deal, you want to make sure you’re using it for qualifying medical expenses. Maybe you got burned last year with money left over that went to waste. Don’t let that happen this year.
6. Use In-Network Providers
This may sound obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people end up paying thousands more than they should because they used an out-of-network provider. Check with your insurance company before choosing a provider. When your doctor refers you to a specialist for care, don’t assume the specialist is in your network. Always check. You’ll pay a lot more to see someone who is considered out-of-network.
If you have Medicare, make sure you choose a provider who “accepts Medicare reimbursement.” If you choose a provider who simply “participates in Medicare,” they may file your claim for you, but could charge you up to 15% more.
What tips do you have? Share your money-saving healthcare tips with the HooPayz community.