insDo you plan for the future? Spend more than you earn? Are you scraping by on your monthly income? Do you allow a set amount for health care? If you are not budgeting for health care, you need to start. Most individuals cannot afford medical bills if they have not saved wisely. Allocating money for health care is often overlooked when making a budget. It can cause financial concerns if you underestimate. Medical bills tend to be one of leading causes of debt. Approximately 43 million American have unpaid medical debt on their credit report according to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. What can you do to budget for health care?
There are ways to prepare for the future and set aside money for health care. The first step is to budget. How do you budget for health care? Well the first step is to look at the past. You need to determine what you have spent on health care in the past few years. To do this you will need to look at your total out of pocket expenses.
Your out of pocket expenses include:
- insurance premiums
- copay or coinsurance
- prescription medication
- dental visits
- eye exams or glasses/contacts etc
After looking at the amount you spent in the past you will be able to decide your future budget. If you have a large family, you may need to budget more for health care. When choosing an insurance plan for the upcoming year, you will need to consider how your anticipated insurance needs fit into your plan choice and your health care budget.
Practical Money Skills suggests asking yourself the following questions:
- How much can you afford to pay monthly in health care?
- Who will require coverage under your health plan? Spouse, children, or just you?
- How often does your family visit the doctor? Are these routine exams or for illness? Does anyone have a disability or chronic condition that requires constant and consistent exams?
- Do you want dental or vision insurance?
- Do you have a plan if anyone needs surgery or has an accident?
- What is the highest deductible you can afford? How much money have you budgeted for your deductible?
It is important to remember when you budget for health care to consider your deductible. Most insurance plans do not pay until AFTER you have met your deductible. This is extremely important if you have a high deductible plan. For example: if you have a $6300 deductible on your plan and 0% copay, the plan will not pay begin to pay at 100% until you have paid $6300 out of your own pocket.
Health Care Spending Varies
What factors can cause your budget to change?
Are you single or do you have a family?
Do you have a chronic condition or take numerous medications?
Are you just starting a family?
Where are you in life? Young? Middle age? Near retirement?
All these factors can influence your decision about health care so it should influence your budget as well.
For a great article about health care budgets and how to start saving we recommend visiting the Federal Credit Union website. They offer advice and information to help you start on a health care budget. For any questions about health care and coverage please contact us! We would love to help you stay on a safe and healthy road for years to come!