Financial Wellness Tips for Medical Expenses

 

 

Article by Amber Hollo
Accounting Manager, Insurance Trust 

Medical expenses can be extensive and aren’t always easily accessible.  Below are several suggestions to help you use your money wisely and still get the care you need.  Please note, that you may be able to get additional savings through programs with your health insurer or prescription company.

Ways to Save on Medical Expenses:

  • Contribute the maximum allowable to your HSA if you have an HSA compatible plan.
    Remember these are pre-tax dollars! More and more items are becoming HSA eligible, including many supplements, OTC medications and supplies.

 

  • Shop lab pricing.
    • I found Ulta Lab to be quite a savings for bloodwork
    • compairmaine.org is a great tool for comparing lab and medical procedure costs in Maine
    • maine.gov/bhr/oeh  provides a list of independent lab locations in Maine. A search returns the provider name, site name, address, and county for each option.

 

  • Apply for Care Credit.
    They offer multiple years of interest-free payments. I’ll give you my personal example – Lasik eye surgery 2 years ago after a discount for having Anthem insurance: $5000.00.  I did not have enough in my HSA to cover the procedure.  So, I opened a Care credit account. I put the entire amount on the card and set up payments for 24 months interest-free. I linked that payment to my HSA.  I was able to pay the whole amount using HSA pre-tax dollars. As a result, I paid just $5000.00.  Say I pay about 20% in taxes. If I had used post-tax dollars from savings/checking, it would really have cost me $6000.00.  If I had used a credit card at 25% interest….it would have cost even more.

 

  • Have a savings account for medical expenses.
    Ideally, this should have enough to cover a yearly out-of-pocket maximum after HSA total contributions. If you are someone who uses all your HSA yearly, having a savings account for the remainder of your yearly out-of-pocket maximum would mean
    no putting medical expenses on your credit card.

 

  • Work with medical practices in establishing payment plans.
    If you call their accounting department, many providers can allow/set up a payment plan with you. It’s not usually something advertised, but many do allow it. I’ve done it myself through Firstlight/Mercy and this allows for interest-free payments, either through personal funds or HSA funds as they become available.

 

  • Submit your reimbursements for wellness screenings.
    If you have voluntary benefits, they often provide an annual benefit for certain wellness screenings.

Obviously, not everyone has the same circumstances, but the point is, put in a little effort and make your dollars, not you, work harder. I hope you find this helpful!