Thinking about the cost of being healthy can cause stress and anxiety. Going to the doctor can set you back anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand.
Bills vary from one consumer to the next, depending on the type of physician, tests that need to be done, and your health insurance coverage. Spending a night or two in the hospital after a serious illness or injury can cost thousands of dollars just for the room and essential care you need.
Many American families struggle to keep family health expenses under control. Services like vision and dental care can become costly, especially when you have a family with younger children. And we can’t forget about the important role our pets play in our lives and our desire to keep them well, too. Pet insurance and healthcare costs can often add an additional burden to family finances.
If you are searching for a few strategies to save money on medical costs that insurance doesn’t cover, we can help. Here are three everyday healthcare expenses that might not be covered by insurance companies and a few strategies you can use to control your spending.
Eye insurance is often provided by a company other than your standard healthcare insurance provider. This means that you need to get comfortable with the policy and review what is and is not covered under routine eye care services.
Plans aren’t usually costly if you purchase them through your employer. However, you must know what is included before you head to the eye doctor to plan for out-of-pocket costs. For example, your policy may cover annual eye exams, but lack coverage for specialized tests, eyeglasses, or contacts, leaving you searching for ways to cover these costs.
How to Keep Costs Low
Prevention is essential if you are trying to minimize the cost of vision care. Be on the lookout for warning signs that indicate vision problems such as squinting to see things far away, inability to participate in activities like reading, clumsiness or poor hand-eye coordination, and recurrent headaches.
If you don’t have vision coverage or your coverage doesn’t cover yearly check-ups, call a local eye doctor and ask if they know of any free exams happening in your community. You can also check with your health department to see if they offer eye exams and if you qualify for services.
Toothaches hurt, but knowing that you need a dental appointment and have little or no way to pay for it might be even more painful. The bad thing about ignoring your oral health is that letting it go too long results in problems gradually getting worse, and by the time you need a significant amount of work completed, the costs can be astronomical.
Dental coverage is similar to vision care in that it is usually administered by a separate company. These policies are often challenging to decipher when you need to know what’s covered. If you have no dental coverage, you will have to get creative to find ways to stay ahead of your mouth care needs.
How to Keep Costs Low
Taking care of your teeth regularly is the best way to save money throughout your lifetime. Daily mouth care like brushing and flossing is critical to dental health and should be done along with twice a year check-ups with your dentist.
If you don’t have dental coverage for annual cleanings, speak to your dentist to see if they offer any in-house plans that can make care more affordable. If you have cavities, need dentures, or other dental treatments, these costs can add up quickly. Many people have to get bottom-line prices in care options on paper to make the best decision.
For example, if you have a child with crooked teeth, you may need to compare braces and invisible liners to decide which will work best and not create financial burdens for the rest of the family. If you incur a hefty dental care bill, speak with your offices’ billing department to see if they offer payment plans to spread out the costs.
If you have a pet, you can bank on spending more than $125 every month in pet care expenses. An annual exam for a large dog will run you about $260. These estimates are just on the basics and don’t include any major medical services, like emergency care, which is even more expensive. Even annual check-ups, vaccinations, and flea and heartworm treatments can put a dent in your bank account.
How to Keep Costs Low
Finding cost-effective ways to get your pets the care they need takes a little time and effort. Look into pet health insurance, which you can purchase from private insurance companies. If your pet needs a significant amount of work done, talk to your vet to see if they have any payment plan options that allow you to pay off the bill over three, six, or even 12 months. You can also reach out to local nonprofit pet groups in your area for assistance. They may have an application process to access funds for these exact types of cases.
Making Smart Healthcare Decisions
Finances and healthcare can be challenging when they intersect. You may have coverage but still need to pay a co-payment for some services or the coverage for some care might not be included in an insurance plan. Skipping treatment isn’t always an option and is typically not a good idea. Use these tips to help reduce your out-of-pocket healthcare costs so that you can stay in control of your medical spending.
Dan Matthews is a freelance writer with a penchant for financial wisdom and solid research. You can find him on Twitter @danielmatthews0 and LinkedIn.