What We Can All Do About Rising Health Care Costs

A 2019 Peter G. Peterson Foundation report projected that healthcare costs in the US are bound to rise by an average of 5.5% per year through 2027. Healthcare spending as a share of GDP will grow from 17.9% to 19.4% in 2027. The projections point to a steady uptick in healthcare expenditure.

Every American should expect to pay significantly more for healthcare 10 years from now compared to today. Fortunately, a broader market trend doesn’t necessarily mean you too have to dig deeper into your pocket. There are measures you can take that would help mitigate your health expenditure without compromising your health and wellbeing.

1.    Coordinate Health Insurance Plans

Two-income households should coordinate their health insurance plans. It might make financial sense to opt out of one partner’s plan and choose family coverage on the other partner’s insurance.

That said, there will be situations where maintaining both covers would be beneficial especially if one fills the shortcomings of the other. For instance, one partner’s insurance may have a wider network of doctors, a lower deductible or better prescription options while the other spouse’s plan may have a provision for taking the insurance benefit as a lump sum.

An ever increasing number of employers are offering a taxable opt-out amount as an option if a partner declines a cover in favor of their partner’s health plan.

2.    Manage Your Documentation

You cannot have a true picture of the scale of your healthcare spending if you do not stay on top of documentation. And if you think about the instances you, your spouse and dependents need some form of medical care each year, the danger of some paperwork falling through the cracks is real.

To keep things organized, start by setting up a physical filing system since plenty of documentation will be in paper form. You can create a digital backup of this by scanning your documents and save them to your computer or the cloud. Capture all receipts including indirect costs such as accommodation, transportation and meals.

Manually date any document that doesn’t already have date information on it. Log phone calls and any other health-related communication that doesn’t generate a paper trail. It would be ideal if your phone has a call-recording app installed. Alternatively, briefly note down the content of the conversation including the person you spoke to, the organization they represent and their contact information.

3.    Scrutinize Your Medical Bills

According to a 2014 survey, 7% of patients discovered serious errors in their medical bills. Those who pay at least $2,000 out of pocket for their healthcare were twice as likely to encounter errors. The errors may range from wrong codes and typos to a failure to account for prior test authorization.

To avoid paying more than you need to, always go through your bills meticulously. While you should pay attention to the higher value entries due to their impact, a lot of errors are often found in the numerous small value items. Once you identify an error, send a formal letter and copy of the relevant documentation to your insurer and the physician’s office requesting a correction.

4.    Strictly Follow Doctor’s Orders

Doctor’s orders should be followed to the letter. A failure to do so would be detrimental to your health and ultimately increase the amount of money you spend on managing or curing the illness. The global antibiotic resistance crisis is the most prominent example of the repercussions of failure to follow doctor’s instructions. The result of resistance is that the patient has to be placed on a higher and pricier set of antibiotics.

But antibiotics are not the only area where patients ignore doctor’s instructions. The CDC found that one in four senior citizens with blood pressure issues and on Medicare insurance, did not take their medication as prescribed. In fact, a staggering $100-300 billion of healthcare costs in the US can be attributed to a failure to non-adherence.

5.    Live Healthy

What’s better than reducing how much you spend on treating a medical condition? Preventing the medical condition from occurring in the first place. You can do that by adopting health-conscious lifestyle habits.

Excessive weight is the genesis or catalyst of numerous illnesses so this is perhaps the best place to start. The availability, affordability and popularity of fast food combined with a sedentary lifestyle has led to widespread obesity.

Lose weight by following a suitable 30 to 60-minute exercise routine and cutting down on foods that are high in sugar, fat and calories. This lowers your risk of catching expensive diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. Switch to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Quit smoking and cut down on your alcohol intake.

 Whether you consider healthcare a right or are of the school of thought that it as a personal responsibility, keeping a lid on your medical expenses is always a good thing. Follow these tips to prevent your healthcare costs from slowly spiraling out of your control.

 

Ashley Lipman

Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart - all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches touching the digital sphere.

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