Most of us experience periods of extended good health through much of our lives. This is obviously desirable, but it can sometimes lead us to assume we will always be healthy, meaning unexpected medical costs can ruin personal and family finances. However, there are several ways you can keep these bills to a minimum, and make sure you’re prepared for them.
Reducing the chances of medical expenses
Dealing with the problem at the source is of course the best option – trying to stay as healthy as you can. While your health is not entirely within your control, going for regular check-ups, for example, will help you find medical problems when they’re still minor, which you can then get treated quickly before doing so becomes expensive and difficult. Healthy eating and exercise are two other ways that you can try to keep medical costs to a minimum.
Also, consider steps that can minimize costs you’re already incurring. If you’re currently spending money on glasses and contact lenses, you could look at laser eye surgery. People who’ve had a LASIK procedure in Long Island, New York and other locations around the country benefit from cutting out the cost of eye tests, glasses, contact lenses and associated products and services.
Options for saving for medical expenses
A popular option a lot of people choose is a health savings account (HSA). Held by a bank or insurance company, you and your employer can contribute money to your HSA, which you can use to cover unexpected medical expenses. It has the benefit of being tax deductible, and any funds you don’t use in a specific year can be rolled over to the next. After the age of 65 you can withdraw the funds and use them for non-medical expenses too.
If you’re self-employed or work for a small business, consider a medical savings account (MSA). Like a HSA, either you or your employer can add funds to the account, but not both of you in the same year. It will also allow you to save tax-free, setting aside a sum of money that depends on your personal annual income and the deductible element of your health plan.
Getting a health plan
Saving for medical expenses can help you cover smaller incidents and areas your health plan doesn’t cover, including the deductible. However, for major medical expenses you will need a health plan to ensure you get good care in the event of serious conditions that require hospitalization.
Health plans are insurance products – by paying a monthly premium you buy cover from an insurer who will pay out the sums required if you have medical emergency. Health plans don’t work in the same way as HSAs or MSAs, although some have a savings element to help you with dental and eye care costs. However, health plans are the only realistic way to prepare for medical issues for which costs could run into thousands of dollars.