Why taking risks to cut health care costs is a bad idea
It’s no surprise that many people are worried about rising healthcare costs. One source notes that healthcare spending totaled $3.5 trillion (or roughly $11,000 per person) in the U.S. for 2017—a number that is projected to rise to $6 trillion (or $17,000 per person) by 2027. Healthcare costs can be especially steep for those moving into retirement years who may face an increasing number of health issues as they age. That said, a recent survey shows that more than half—or 63%—of younger adults are thinking about how their health today will impact how much they need to save for retirement. The worst part? Many of these young adults are willing to avoid care now to avoid expenses.
More specifically, nearly three quarters of young adults said they have taken “risky” actions to save money on health and medical-related expenses. That means:
- 33% are delaying seeking medical help in hopes the condition will subside
- 27% consider not seeking care to avoid high deductibles
- 22% skip a scheduled appointment to avoid a medical bill
- 22% take less than the recommended dosage to extend the length of a prescription
- 21% stopped medication because it costs too much
- 20% Don’t follow a treatment plan recommended by their doctor
None of these tactics are recommended ways to save on healthcare costs. In fact, putting off or avoiding care can actually increase your costs over the long-run as health issues worsen without proper treatment.
Instead, it’s advisable to get in touch with a primary care doctor who can get to know you and your medical history to create the easiest, most cost-effective plan for wellness. There are other things that younger generations can do to avoid sky-high medical bills, too.
1. Focus on preventative care
The young and healthy have two things going for them: they’re young and healthy. To stay healthy, people should be sure to purchase a health care plan that works for them. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is a provision that requires private insurance plans to cover recommended preventive services without requiring co-pays. That means the following services are covered:
- Screening for depression
- Blood pressure and cholesterol screenings
- Immunization vaccines
- Screening for diabetes and other chronic conditions
- Screening for various cancers
- Screening for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Counseling for drug and tobacco use
- Well-woman visits for women under 65
By staying ahead of the health curve, people can get ahead of any serious illnesses and keep health care-related costs low.
Look into HDHPs and HSAs
A high deductible health plan (HDHP) paired with a health savings account (HSA) can be a great way to keep costs low. What’s more, HSAs are a great tool that provide tax advantages and can serve as a retirement planning tool. In 2019, people are able to contribute up to $3,500 to an HSA if you have single coverage or up to $7,000 for family coverage. People 55 or older can contribute an extra $1,000.
Eligibility to contribute to an HSA requires an HDHP, which the IRS defines as any plan with a deductible of at least $1,350 for an individual or $2,700 for a family. The benefits of making HSA contributions are three-fold:
- Earnings in HSAs are tax-free
- HSA contributions are tax-deductible or can be made pre-tax in the case of payroll deductions
- HSA account owners enjoy tax-free withdrawals when the funds are used to pay for qualifying medical expenses.
Take advantage of the benefits of primary care
Having a primary care doctor is incredibly important. The doctor-patient relationship means that a doctor gets to know his or her patients and can make knowledgeable treatment plans based on this solid relationship. In the era of “big insurance”, there has been a decline in this type of doctor-patient relationship, but we’re starting to see a resurgence again.
Decent, for example, offers free primary care as part of all of its health care plans. Decent believes that the doctor-patient relationship should sit at the center of healthcare. We make that easy by offering free primary care as part of all our health plans. You enjoy same-day, half-hour long appointments and 24/7 direct telephone access to your doctor...and it’s all 100% included in your monthly premium.
The great thing about this coverage is that you can see your doctor as often as you’d like. Whether you’re going in for routine tests and screenings or to create a holistic wellness plan hand-in-hand with your trusted physician, we’ve got you covered. This type of all-access coverage enables younger generations to stay on top of their health without medical bills taking a big bite out of the bank account. Rather than taking “risky” chances and avoiding care, you can get as much care as you need with minimal cost.