1. Be accountable: The best way to keep health care costs down is by focusing on health and wellness and preventing health problems or catching them early before they become more complicated and expensive.
2. Stay informed: The better you know what you can do to get the most bang out of your health care buck (i.e., taking advantage of preventative care benefits), the more you can save.
3. Get involved. No one is a better advocate for your care than you are. Get involved, ask questions and participate in decisions that affect your care, your health and your costs.
4. Talk to your doctor: Good communication between you and your doctor is important. Your doctor can’t treat you properly if you don’t share your health concerns. Write it down and come prepared to talk about your list of concerns during your appointment.
5. Consider how much you use your health plan: High utilization – or how much health care is accessed – is one of the main drivers of increased health care costs across the country. While no one wants you to skimp on health care – or go without – it’s important to consider how and when you’re using health care services.
6.Use prescription drugs wisely: Consider cost-effective ways to receive medications. For example, you can ask your doctor to prescribe generic prescription drugs rather than brand name drugs. Or you may want to consider using your plan’s mail-order program to save money on prescriptions you use for ongoing conditions.
7. Consider a Flexible Spending Account: The Health Care and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are a great way to save money on health care and day care expenses by letting you set aside money on a before-tax basis to pay yourself back for certain qualified expenses.
8. Stay healthy: Half of all health care spending is related to lifestyle issues. Adopting good habits such as following a healthy diet and exercising can increase your energy, improve your health and lower your health care costs. It could be as simple as wearing your bike helmet when you go for a ride or wearing your seatbelt each time you get into your car.
9. Call a nurse advice line: Next time you have a health concern consider calling the nurse advice line. You might discover that you can treat your condition at home, saving you both time and money.
10. Know when it’s an emergency: If you are in an emergency situation, go to the nearest emergency room. For non-urgent conditions, decide whether or not an emergency room visit is really necessary, or if it can wait until the doctor’s office is open. Doctor’s office visits usually cost less than emergency room visits.