October is a busy month in healthcare. It is known in the industry as “preventative health month” because of all that is going on. There is national breast awareness for mammograms going on, national oral health month, world mental health awareness, national suicide prevention month, open enrollment periods for Medicare and commercial plans, flu shot awareness and more for us to pay attention to for our health needs. It is also the time we start to get alerts about using up the rest of our health accounts or getting services we need if we’ve already met our deductible for the year.
As a result of all these activities and the seasonal change itself, October by nature is one of the highest months where medical and pharmacy claims volume increase meaning there is a lot of money flowing through the health care space this month. When I first started in healthcare over 30 years ago, you couldn’t ask for any time off between September 15 and January 1. Technology has changed that situation to an extent but it is still considered the busy season for this industry.
With the flurry of activity focused on health care this month I wanted to share with you my best tips for saving on on health needs this month and to maximize savings from what is available. (Be sure to check your specific insurance plan details to make sure your plan covers benefits.)
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are an incredible savings method for your healthcare. Regardless of employer you work for you can take this account with you and invest in a HSA-IRA when funds meet a minimum balance. These accounts are excellent for saving for future health care needs over your lifetime as well as many every day needs now. With the interest and investment returns you can earn these are a smart money choice if you have the opportunity to join one in your plan.
With an HSA many times natural or alternative medicine and treatments can be covered or reimbursed through this type of account. This is a great way to purchase things like essential oils, natural supplements and natural care treatments. Be sure to check the rules to make sure your plan includes these types of benefits for coverage and if not talk to your benefits administrator to see about having them added as a value added benefit.
The HSA is one of the best ways to offset the high deductible health care plans many of us have these days and provide you additional options for including coverage of natural treatments that may not otherwise be economical to get like acupuncture, chiropractic and more. Consider increasing your deduction to your HSA for January 1 to maximize savings and reduce out of pocket costs and take advantage of employer matching dollars where they exist.
Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs)
FSAs are another form of savings to help offset health costs but they do have more restrictions than a HSA. These are excellent for offsetting childcare costs but there are sometimes some off the counter (OTC) values that give you some additional savings, including natural medicine options.
You must use all of your FSA balance by year end or you lose what is in this account. If you know you will have a balance left over look at the rules to see if your FSA qualifies for natural health products like essential oils and supplements. This is a great way to introduce natural health to your life while paying for it with pre-tax dollars.
Benefit Plan Options
Many of us will have the opportunity to review and change our benefit plan options with our employer this month. There is always a cost consideration for what our share of that insurance cost will be and how much it will take from our paycheck to cover it. This is why it is so important to know exactly what coverage and benefits you have in your plan and using them wisely.
Choose a plan that fits your family’s needs currently and the “in case” situations for emergencies. A high deductible health plan can financially hurt a lot of families if you run into a big unexpected expense during the year. Be realistic about your risks and know what that could cost you out of pocket for the deductible as well as co-insurance amounts, out of network costs and other fees.
The best way to gauge your risk is to have a check up with your provider. In that check up talk about natural options that could benefit your health and reduce your expenses. Talk about essential oil support, natural whole food supplements and options for incorporating more natural based treatments into your care. Not only are these options less expensive but they can be very effective at preventative and acute care needs.
The average prescription for maintenance medications cost around $50 a month so if you can find a natural option that is much less per month and effective at helping you rebuild health or manage a need then you are stretching your dollar and improving your health at the same time!
If your plan requires you to select a primary care provider as your family doctor, consider natural path medicine options. These providers cost less per office visit and many health plans allow them to be considered as your family practicioner.
I know in our household it always seemed that there were costs that were always outside of what our insurance would cover. Here we were pouring money from our paychecks to have insurance and then when we needed it we’d have to pay more for the deductible and co-insurance before it kicked in to help with anything. For most family’s this is the same story and many of us just can’t keep up with the raising cost of our insurance as a result.
If your insurance does not cover natural options then I highly encourage you to consider taking matters into your own hands and learning more about them. There are thousands of success stories of families saving money on healthcare, actually realizing improvements in their health and seeing a decrease in common illnesses. Side-by-side natural health costs much less and is more effective without the side effects and lines at the pharmacy to get medicines.
The average insurance deductible is $5000 per year for a family plan with many being over $10,000! Do you have that sitting in an account to cover your medical expenses as they happen? Me either!
Here’s the secret though, over 80% of our healthcare needs can be handled through self-directed care which means you could see a significant reduction in your cost of healthcare through finding natural options. Imagine what you could do with those savings instead of paying that deductible next year.
The Plan that Works
As you go through open enrollment and look at the changes to your health insurance, consider it time to put your insurance budget back in check to your favor. Changing the course of your family’s health and reducing what it is costing you each year for health insurance can be done! There are many tried and true options available that are safe, easy to use and economical.
I only use and highly recommend doTERRA’s products because of their commitment to transparency in purity and quality that make them the best on the market and safe for my family. Price is not an indicator of quality when it comes to natural health products. doTERRA has moderately priced oils and products that are 100% pure and sourced naturally rather than in hothouses and corporate farms.
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