7 Helpful Tips to Stretch Your Health Care Dollars
Each year, your health care costs go up. This continuing trend can significantly impact your budget as well as your employees'. While it’s difficult to control all the factors that contribute to rising health care costs, actively managing how health care dollars are spent is a great way to help your employees get the most benefit from their investment. Here are 7 quick and easy ways to get the most out of Health Care Dollars that you can share with your employees.
1. Understand how your health plan works. You need to know what is and what is not covered, what procedures you need to follow to ensure your claims are paid, and which providers and facilities to use to get the most cost-effective care. Know the deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs you are responsible for paying before you use medical products or services or get a prescription filled.
2. Use in-network providers. Participating providers (doctors, hospitals, and others in your plan’s network) generally charge discounted rates for plan members. Non-participating providers will likely cost you a higher coinsurance percentage.
3. Only go to the hospital emergency room for true emergencies.
4. Carefully check all medical bills. Insurance companies and hospitals are not exempt from making billing errors.
5. Use any additional programs or discounts provided by your employer or health plan. Many health plans provide access to free disease management programs for chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. These programs can help you stay healthy and manage your condition, and can possibly save you money in the long run.
6. Live a healthy lifestyle. Healthy habits like exercising regularly, eating well and not smoking can increase your stamina, lighten your mood and lower your risk for certain diseases.
7. Use a health care spending account to pay for medical expenses with pre-tax money. If your employer provides you access to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), use it. These accounts let you set aside pretax money from your paycheck to pay for eligible items like prescription drugs, deductibles, coinsurance, dental expenses and vision care.