2nd Quarter 2015

Retiree Corner: Save on Health Care

That pain in your wallet could be caused by the fact that health care costs have more than doubled over the past decade for the average family of four with employer coverage, according to the 2015 Milliman Medical Index. Most employees now pay higher premiums as well as much larger deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. But several strategies can help reduce your medical expenses significantly.

Stay in-network. Your plan may not provide coverage if you use an out-of-network doctor. Even if you are covered, you may have to pay much higher out-of-pocket costs. Check with your doctors and insurer about coverage before scheduling an office visit or procedure, and study the provider list when picking a plan during open enrollment.

Save at standalone radiology centers. The cost of x-rays and other tests can vary enormously depending on where you go — sometimes costing 10 times as much at a hospital than at a standalone radiology center, for example. Most insurers offer Web tools to help you compare the cost of tests at various in-network facilities in your area.

Save on prescriptions. Generic drugs can cost as much as 85 percent less than the brand-name versions. Ask your doctor if you can switch to a generic or other lowcost alternative. See if you can save money by using a preferred pharmacy or ordering prescriptions through the mail.

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