6 Tips to Help 30-Somethings Manage Health Care Costs

6 Tips to Help 30-Somethings Manage Health Care Costs
September 03 01:00 2013

6 Tips to Help 30-Somethings Manage Health Care Costs
When you’re in your 30s, managing your health care costs may not be a major consideration. After all, you’re likely to still be in good health, and you may have other pressing needs or wants, such as buying a home.

Still, it’s worth spending a little time thinking about how to secure good care for yourself while not spending anymore than you need to. You may end up saving money that can go toward that down payment.

Here are a few tips to consider:

1. If you’re in good health and make minimal use of medical services, you might opt for a health insurance plan with a high deductible. That can considerably lower the cost of the plan.

2. Set up an HSA or FSA. Health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts are tax-sheltered accounts, permitting you to sock away money on a pretax basis to spend on certain qualified kinds of expenses, such as medical costs. To take advantage of HSAs, you need a high-deductible insurance plan, but for an FSA, you don’t. Expenses that qualify with FSAs include doctor visits, prescription drugs, and hospital stays, along with eye exams and glasses or contact lenses. (Gym memberships, nutritional supplements or a face lift generally won’t qualify.)

For 2013, most of us are limited to $2,500 a year in our FSA accounts, though there are some ways around that. Sums in the account are forfeited if not spent in time, though that rule might be amended in the future. Until then, though, plan carefully and fund the account with perhaps 20 percent less than you think you’ll spend in the year, just to be safe. (With HSAs, money you don’t spend in one year rolls over to the next.)

3. When you’re prescribed any medication, ask about less expensive alternatives. There may be a much cheaper generic version of the same drug, or a different (but also effective) drug treating the same condition that’s less costly. Shop around with pharmacies, too, as costs can vary widely between them…

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