More Ways to Save
on Health Care
August 3, 2011
Vol. 7, Issue 6
Father & son exploring the Irish countryside
If you’re like us, you love the great outdoors. We just got back home to Colorado from a great trip through Ireland. Dubbed the “Emerald Isle,” the hills in Ireland are just unbelievably green!
Summer is the perfect time to travel with our son, Wiley IV. Like you, we want to spend our money on learning about our world especially while our son is young. One of the ways we save for these trips is by keeping our health care costs low. Still, it seems that health care is taking a bigger bite every year.
In 2009, families were spending an average of $6,000 a year on health care that their insurance didn’t cover. The National Coalition of Health Care says that will rise to about $9,000 for out-of-pocket costs by next year.
Besides showing you which health insurance policies offer the best rates and the lowest out-of-pocket costs, I’ve found more resources you can use to trim down what you pay for health care.
Back to School Vaccinations
When your kids need vaccinations, you have a couple of options. As long as your health plan is post health care reform, recommended vaccines should be completely covered. You could have problems if you get immunizations from a doctor who’s outside of your insurance plan’s provider network or an incorrect medical billing code is used, though.
If you have an older plan that doesn’t cover preventive health care with no out-of-pocket costs, you may want to see what switching to newer coverage would cost. You can also check into the discounted rates from the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.
Children 18 or younger who have private health insurance that does not cover vaccines, covers only selected vaccines, or caps vaccine coverage at a certain amount may be eligible. You can read more about VFC on the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/contacts-state.htm.
Just click the first letter for the state where you live to view contact information for the VFC provider there.
Discounts on Contacts and Glasses
Most health insurance only pays for the treatment of eye diseases or injuries, and not for contact lenses or glasses. The most expensive way to buy either is typically through an ophthalmologist or optometrist. National chains, like Costco, Target and Wal-Mart, can have much lower pricing. Some of these also offer optometrists onsite so you can get eye exams and eyewear together.
Some ophthalmologists and optometrists have annual sales, too. That’s sometimes true in December. As gift shopping increases, people put off getting contacts or glasses so some clinics advertise sales, like exams for $20, before Christmas.
You can also consider buying contacts by calling 1-800-CONTACTS or by going online at http://www.1800contacts.com/. They advertise, “We beat any price on contact lenses.” You can email or fax them your prescription, or they will call your doctor to get it for you.
Discounts on Lab Tests
If you need services that aren’t covered, such as when you haven’t met your plan’s deductible, you have options. As a valued HSA for America client, there’s no charge to sign up for major discounts on lab work.
You can order the tests you want online and have them run at the nearest participating lab. It’s not uncommon to save up to 80 percent through Direct Labs and I’ve personally used the service to get lab work that could cost $250 for the bargain price of $45.You may sign up at http://www.HSAforAmerica.com/member-benefits-lab.htm.
I firmly believe that we all deserve more control over what we pay for health care. I’ll be on the lookout for more ways to help you save on health care next time.
Until then, enjoy the summer and stay well.
To your health and wealth!
President - HSA for America