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Success Story & Money Tip: Saved $289/year on Healthcare by making painless changes

One Solution for Me made a post recently that goes over four things they did to save money on healthcare this year. As I read through them, some of them are very easy to do and I hadn’t thought about before.

2.“Dental Insurance: $60.00 per year” – During my employer’s open enrollment period for insurance, I reviewed my dental insurance premiums paid and out-of-pocket amounts paid to my dentist. I also contacted my dentist and asked what my typical yearly dental services (two cleanings and x-rays) would cost without insurance. Based on my historical usage I ended up saving money by dropping my dental insurance.
3.“Urgent Care: $75.00 per visit” – Understanding the difference between an Emergency Room (ER) and an Urgent Care Center saved us time and money. My wife had cut her finger and we choose to visit the Urgent Care Center instead of the ER. This only took about an hour and saved us $75.00 by paying the Urgent Care copay instead of the ER copay.

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Lesson Learned:
The Dental Insurance thing can be iffy if you come across a serious dental problem that needs fixing. It makes sense to drop the insurance if it costs more than your actual care each year, but what happens if you need to have a tooth removed?

I try to look at this the same way I look at pet insurance. Pet insurance can be good with pets that developed a serious condition that needs regular treatment, but pet insurance is a reimbursement program, not a discount program. I used to work at an emergency vet, and people never seemed to understand that they still had to pay for their services up front and then get reimbursed through the pet insurance program. It’s still a good program for animals with regular health issues, but most don’t need it.

Instead, what I’ve recommended in the past is to put aside a certain amount of money per year to put towards pet healthcare, or event dental healthcare. Say you put away $25/month, each year you’ll have $300 set aside for these types of expenses. You may only spend $100 of that per year, so the balance will continue to grow. Then, when you have that big moment where you need $1,000 for an expense, you have that money saved up, without having to spend each month paying a monthly premium to an insurance company.

Obviously health insurance is not something I recommend this with, but things like dental and pet insurance…it might be a good alternative.

I’m also glad One Solution for Me posted about the Urgent Care versus Emergency Room, because I honestly have never been to an Urgent Care clinic and likely would not think to go to one.

One other addition I want to mention about saving money is how lowering your deductible can save you money. I have an HSA through my work, so that makes this a little easier for me, but even if I didn’t I would still apply this principle to my health insurance deductible.

If my health insurance deductible is $1200/year, I make sure I have that amount in my HSA (or a separate savings account). That way, I can move up to a higher deductible if I want, which will lower my monthly payments, because I’ll have that deductible saved up for emergencies. The same applies to car insurance, you can raise your deductible for lower monthly payments once you have that deductible amount set aside for that emergency. Gradually you’ll be saving money this way 🙂

About Crystal Groves, Google+

Crystal Groves is a farmer, web developer, musician, blogger, and personal finance enthusiast from the back hills of Maryland and Pennsylvania. She started Money Drain as a project to encourage people interested in fixing their financial situation to share their stories and learn from the stories of others. We all make mistakes, but in order to change we have to make changes.

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One Response to Success Story & Money Tip: Saved $289/year on Healthcare by making painless changes

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