5 Ways To Save Money On Future Healthcare Costs in the US
Americans can expect higher healthcare costs this year and as projected by Fidelity Investments. A 65-year-old couple who will be retiring in 2022 will have to spend up to $315,000 in health and medical expenses. That is 5% more than last year’s projection. And with the potential of compounding inflation in the years to come, people can expect to spend over a million dollars to afford decent health and medical care in the country.
If this is currently the case, what can we expect in the future?
This is a frightening thought, perhaps, a frightening reality that many Americans face and will face. But luckily, there are practical ways to cut down the risk of getting buried in a pile of hospital bills in the future through technology and tried and tested strategies.
Technology is the silver lining that paved the way for the efficiency and accessibility of certain services, including healthcare. So if you’re resourceful enough, you’ll be surprised by the wealth of resources and tools available out there to help every individual prepare, prevent, and deal with the issue at hand.
Here are five ways you can potentially save money on future healthcare costs in the US:
Our smartphones are our handy companions for everyday living, and thanks to the plethora of mobile apps on the market, we can easily access certain products and services that may aid us in this battle against costly expenses.
Health Mobile Apps
There are 5 main categories of health-related apps:
- Personal healthcare apps - mobile apps that help an individual track and manage their physical and mental health. This includes native health apps, medical ID/history apps, and habit or mood tracker apps.
- Lifestyle apps - these are apps that help a person maintain a healthy lifestyle with helpful content such as fitness tracking apps, and workout and mindfulness apps.
- Virtual healthcare apps - these are telemedicine apps that can connect you to a professional medical provider online. Consultations are done through call, video chat or even in-app chat, and for a reasonable fee.
- Medical apps - generally developed for healthcare providers, these types of apps allow a quick lookup of patient records and other resources relevant to their practice when they’re away from their desks.
- Health Information apps - these are the apps that provide useful information on various illnesses and treatments. While these do not substitute professional medical diagnoses, health information apps can educate users on common symptoms, first aid treatments, and information on when to seek urgent care. It also gives users the latest news on the healthcare industry that may be helpful to see what resources are being offered to patients.
Collectively, there are over 200,000 health-related apps in the leading app stores and numbers are continuously growing as more individuals experience life in the palm of their hands. And for those looking to develop apps, this can be a profitable niche because it’s not only relevant, it can be life-changing for many.
Read: 31 Mobile App Ideas
Moreover, in order to prepare ahead, it is crucial that we save up for the future as well. Due to the challenges of inflation, managing our finances is crucial in keeping the impact and financial burden of life’s uncertainties from badgering us. Because even those enrolled in federal-sponsored insurance must set aside resources for prescription drugs and other costs that are not covered by insurance. Finance apps can help individuals track their expenses and motivate them to grow their funds for a more comfortable financial blanket. These mobile apps include investment apps where they can do stock or crypto trading, budget tracking/savings apps, and banking apps.
Take advantage of telehealth options
Telemedicine is a great option for those looking to save up on gas and consultation fees, all while looking for great service. With improved technology, patients can see their doctors without the need to drive to the doctor’s office or clinic. Virtual visits can be done in the comfort of your own living room and are more cost-effective than in-office visits. In light of the pandemic, telehealth options have been shown to offer many benefits including comfort and convenience, control of infectious illnesses, and healthcare practitioners’ ability to provide the best assessment by seeing the patient in their respective home environments.
Scout for free or low-cost care in your area
In 2022, approximately 30 million Americans do not have health insurance. The high cost of insurance along with other necessities such as gas, childcare and food make it nearly impossible to afford one despite certain legislative efforts. The risk of getting indebted is at an all-time high for this population, and it even extends to those who have it. Though this is grim, options for free or low-cost care may be available to you. Explore public insurance such as Medicaid, Medicare, charity care, community health clinics, and some urgent care facilities that charge reasonable fees. When exploring these options, it is best to inquire ahead to check your eligibility for some programs.
Try these money-saving strategies
If you don’t have insurance and require medical care at some point, these healthcare tips may help:
- Inform healthcare providers that you don’t have insurance - healthcare providers may offer lower fees for their services if they know beforehand that you don’t have insurance. This is not guaranteed so make sure to shop around first.
- Keep your options open - medical fees may vary depending on location. So continue scouting around for healthcare centers that can provide care that you can afford.
- Go generic - generic medications are cheaper and have the same efficacy as branded ones. So don’t be shy to choose generic medications for certain treatments.
- Inquire for payment plans - Healthcare providers may offer payment plans to those facing expensive medical bills. This does not reduce the overall cost but can help one to fulfill obligations on a more manageable scheme.
- If you can afford it, pay in advance - hospitals or clinics may offer discounted fees to those who can pay in advance for scheduled procedures such as planned births or elective surgeries.
Prevention is better than cure, they say. Allotting an extra hour of your day to exercise may save you a whole lot in medical costs in the future. After all, an extra hour a day to get moving is better than working more hours to pay these bills, right? Luckily, there are a lot of tools that we can use to keep a healthy lifestyle. Check out smartwatches, fitness trackers and fitness mirrors, or simply download free workout and health apps to get you started on your journey towards a long, healthy and debt-free life. Living a healthy lifestyle leaves no guarantee, but it sure helps us to live our best lives and prevent future illnesses that may require major attention.
At the end of the day, we cannot control everything, especially the rising healthcare costs in the US. But we can be proactive in taking the necessary steps to support our long-term goals. All by being resourceful and taking advantage of innovations and resources that may be available to us.
Disclaimer: these tips and strategies are not meant to replace any advice issued by healthcare or government professionals. These also do not override any existing laws and policies relating to healthcare goods and services.