Your health is one of your most important investments, but you don’t have to drop lots of dollars to reap wellness rewards.
Even if you consider yourself to be thrifty regarding most types of shopping, spending on your health isn’t always so straightforward. Should you opt for the low-premium or the low-deductible health plan? Should you schedule a checkup now or wait until you’ve got a health question for your doctor? It’s a lot to figure out.
“In many countries, such as the United States where there is no single-payer or universal care system, individuals have to understand that health-related decisions and strategies are closely tied to financial outlook,” says Jagdish Khubchandani, PhD, a professor of public health at New Mexico State University. “And knowledge of both is a must and should complement each other.”
Wellness and money experts tell us the biggest financial mistakes they see people make when it comes to spending—and saving—on their health.
Not utilizing hospital financial assistance programs
Nonprofit hospitals must offer financial assistance programs. These programs provide a discount or even free care based on a sliding scale. “Don’t assume you earn too much to qualify,” says Michael Waterbury, CEO of Goodroot. “Depending on the poverty rate in your state and your family size, you can make six figures and still be entitled to a discount of 25% or more. Many people suffering with medical debt were eligible for financial assistance but didn’t know to ask.” Check with the hospital’s financial department before paying your bill, he recommends.
With a little extra legwork on healthcare spending and saving, you can keep your finances—and yourself—in relatively good health.