Very few people think about health care or health insurance until they have to use it. It’s not a commodity we need to be mindful of everyday, but it is something we can’t survive without (literally). Yet far too often the majority of Americans don’t think about how much health care costs, and how much that cost will rise over time.
Today costs are rising on both ends of the health care and health insurance spectrum. Gone are the days of insurance paying for the majority of accidents, illnesses, surgeries and prescription drugs. Deductibles, copays and coinsurance are now the responsibility of individuals and families to pay out of their own wallets. As the cost of health care services increases so is the cost of health insurance. Both monthly insurance costs and yearly deductibles are on the rise. That means every consumer is feeling a financial hit.
A recent Nationwide Retirement Institute survey revealed some telling facts:
- 79% of respondents have no clue what their health care costs will be before receiving care or dramatically underestimate the cost
- 63% report that their top fear about retirement is out-of-control healthcare costs
- Today average retired couple now spends about $15,000 a year on health care alone, of which more than half goes to Medicare premiums
- The same retired couple will spend somewhere between $240,000 and $420,000 over the course of their retirement on health care services, depending on their lifespan and health conditions
It’s reported the average sixtysomething only has $172,000 in the bank, which doesn’t equate to enough retirement savings to survive beyond a few years, let alone pay for health care and Medicare costs that will continue to escalate over time. So what can a couple do to lower health costs and place the extra cash into their saving accounts before the retirement years sneak up on them?
Look for health care’s silver lining
Telemedicine is not a new invention, but it’s gaining popularity with consumers each year. Instead of slogging to the doctor when you or your children are sick, telemedicine allows you to call a board-certified doctor over the phone or through video chat and get a diagnosis in about 15 minutes. You avoid the travel and waiting room and can usually have a prescription sent to your local pharmacy within the hour. With little overhead, telemedicine doctors cost a fraction of the typical doctor office visit (and are FREE with a HealthValues membership)!
Just as Expedia made finding airfare and hotel rooms more affordable, online discount houses are now implementing the same concept in health care. Today you can comparison shop imagery or surgical procedures and find quality centers at up to half the cost. If your health insurance deductible is too high to pay for a procedure, why let your insurance company dictate your costs? By shopping for your own medical services you can save hundreds, if not thousands.
Supplement insurance to help pay for the big stuff
Unexpected accidents or a critical illness diagnosis can make medical bills add up quickly. If you have a health insurance deductible over $10,000, a child’s broken leg can cost up to $7,000, which you have to pay completely out of pocket. A cancer diagnosis can be even more financially catastrophic. Supplemental insurance helps cover the gap between your first medical bill and hitting your insurance deductible, providing protection from large medical expenses.
By taking the time to investigate your health savings opportunities, you can begin to build a more robust portfolio for yourself and your family using your health care savings. Find out more about saving on health care expenses so you can better fund your retirement by visiting HealthValues.org.