Coping with Rising Health-Care Costs
The headache that can't be cured with a pill.
The health-care battle is being waged daily not only in Washington and the media, but also in homes and businesses throughout the U.S. Rising costs are forcing some Americans to choose between buying groceries and getting prescriptions filled. And some people even put off medical procedures to avoid exorbitant costs. What's more, corporations offering benefits to employees are being forced to reevaluate cost-sharing arrangements with their employees due to escalating expenses.
What can you do that may help keep your family financially fit and healthy? Here are some simple tips:
- Promote a healthier lifestyle within your family. Practice healthy eating habits, include more physical activity in your daily regimen, and schedule routine checkups.
- Go generic. Ask your doctor if generic medicines are an option. You could save yourself hundreds of dollars annually.
- Select the proper company-sponsored medical plan. Make certain the medical plan suits your needs and those of your family. Some plans save you more up front, but make sure you understand potential out-of-pocket expenses.
- Practice preventive care. By encouraging good hygiene, getting enough sleep, or researching your family's medical history to address possible hereditary conditions, you may avoid costly medical conditions. Ask your doctor for suggestions to circumvent repeated trips to his or her office.
The chart below demonstrates how American incomes aren't keeping pace with rising health-care costs.
Health Care in America: The Growing Affordability Gap
Cumulative active employee health care costs vs. wage increases
Source: Towers Watson Health Care Cost Survey 2010 (active employee data) and Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted data from the Current Employment Statistics Survey August to August, 2000 – 2009