19 Ways to Save Money on Health and Fitness
24 February 2009
If you ask any average American if the cost of healthcare is going up or going down, they will all most likely say that it is going up. In fact, healthcare spending is expected to hit 2.5 trillion in 2008 which $1 billion more than last year according to BusinessWeek. I still have a bruised jaw when it fell to the ground after reading an estimate from my dentist.
In today’s challenging economic times, people are looking for ways to save money. Sam McManis from the Sacramento Bee wrote about 15 ways to save on health and fitness.
- Go Generic - Compare active ingredients on brand name and generic brands and you will find that they are identical.
- Exercise outside – Usually a challenge when the weather is bad but not impossible.
- Sock it to ‘em – I can not imagine driving with socks instead of gloves. Not so sure about this one Sam.
- Limit ER visits – ER visits will cost you thousands. Use it only for emergencies.
- Flex your options – Use milk jugs to do biceps curls instead of buying expensive weights.
- Flex your spending too – Take advantage of pre-tax savings for healthcare (or dependent care). You can use it to pay for co-pays, office visits, dental, vision, psych/therapy, chiropractic care, orthodontia, lab, hosptial fees, prescriptions, over the counter medicine etc. The list of eligible expenses is quite extensive. It is a use it or lose it plan so be conservative.
- Brace yourself - It is more inexpensive to purchase your own crutches or braces than purchase the hospital provided gear. Contact your medical insurance as they may provide discounts on crutches and braces.
- Press play – Buy yoga videos instead of paying $15 per class. Contact your medical insurance as they often provide discounts on exercise videos.
- Sample before buying - Ask your doctor for samples when you are prescribed new medication.
- Cash if you can – Whether or not you have insurance, medical providers and hospitals often provide discounts if you pay cash. I got a discount after paying the balance of our hospital bill in full after the birth of my child. You may have to contact the billing department to get the discount.
- Let students fill in - Get dental work done at dental school. The appointments are usually longer as it is a teaching class.
- Mind your peas and carrots – Use frozen bag of peas instead of the fancy freezable ice bags that the pros use.
- Order bulk by mail – Most insurance providers allow you to purchase prescriptions 4 months prescription but you pay only for 3 months worth of medication.
- Factor in the tax facts – You are allowed to itemize and subtract deductions from your adjusted gross income on your Schedule A. This amount usually can not exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
- Stay home – Eat out less and eat smaller portions to save money.
- Pack your own lunch – Eat healthier and save money even if you pack your lunch a few times a week.
- More student training – Check your local university or community college to see if there are medical or EMT classes that are looking for volunteers. Our local community college has EMT classes that are looking for volunteers. Students can practice using the echocardiogram machines. The test is usually several hundreds of dollars but it is free for the volunteers.
- Utilize your resources – Contact your medical, dental and insurance providers. They will provide discounts for gym memberships, videos/dvds, smoking cessation, etc. Their websites will often provide you with free health and wellness tools.
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) – Most mid to large size employers provide EAP benefits to employees. This is a free and confidential resource available to employees. They usually provide you with free access to counselling and referrals for issues ranging from financial counselling, healthcare concerns emotional distress, substance abuse, legal concerns, work relationship issues, concerns about aging parents, work relationship concerns, major life events, including births, accidents and deaths etc.