3Rivers Blog

Wellness Wednesday: 5 Ways to Curb Health + Wellness Costs

Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Many of us experience unexpected and unavoidable costs related to our health, and the health of our partners or families, year after year.

Save on Health + Wellness Costs | Image source: Shutterstock.com / Photographer: Nata-Lia

While we can’t predict or change the path that certain illnesses, ailments, and long-term medical conditions take, there are several ways we can curb the costs that come with keeping our health and wellness in tip-top shape.

Get Prescriptions for Less

Often, a one-time co-pay for a visit to the walk-in clinic and an antibiotic are all it takes to kick a cold, but millions of Americans have monthly prescriptions – for diabetes, allergies, depression, and more – that require payments for each and every refill. Even if the Rx is cheap, year after year, those costs add up. Ask your doctor for free samples when you’re put on a new med, as they can sometimes supply you with several weeks’ or months’ worth. Another option: When you go to get your prescription filled, ask if there is a generic version available. Generic meds contain all of the same ingredients, and are often half the cost or less (some are covered entirely by insurance!)

Related: Buy Generic + Save

Save Up Pre-Taxed Dollars for Medical Care

The next time your employer offers open-enrollment, consider signing up for a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA.) These accounts allow you to set aside money from your paycheck, before it is taxed, for medical costs. That money can then be used for co-pays, dental work, glasses and contacts, and more. 3Rivers offers HSA accounts to members who have High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) for their health insurance coverage.

Related: HSAs at 3Rivers

Get Healthy

The healthier you are, the less money you’ll be spending to get healthy. Start making small life changes that benefit your body and your mind. Take a walk on your lunch break, cut out processed foods and sugar, incorporate fruits and veggies, practice meditation, take a multivitamin, make sure you’re fully awake and aware when you’re driving, riding your bike, and crossing the streets. When you feel a cold coming on, up your fluids and get plenty of rest. Advice like this might seem cliché, simple, and outdated, but it’s tried and true, and it will save you big, big bucks In medical costs in the long run. |

Related: How to Stay Healthy This Winter, 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Without Spending a Dime, 12 Free Ways to Improve Your Mind + Body

Buy In-Season or Frozen Fruits + Veggies

Have you noticed the fluctuation in price of certain fruits and veggies throughout the year? That’s because each has it’s own season, if you will. Asparagus is cheaper in early spring because that’s when it’s easiest to grow, berries drop in price during the summer because they’re thriving at that time. When fruits and veggies aren’t in season, the supply is less, the demand is higher, and prices skyrocket. Despite what you may have heard, flash-frozen fruits and vegetables actually contain the same amount, if not more nutrients, than fresh fruits and vegetables.That’s because fresh fruits and veggies often travel across the country before hitting supermarket shelves and lose nutrients in the process. Bonus: Buying frozen is way cheaper, and means your produce will last way longer!

Related: Spring + Summer Produce, Fall + Winter Produce, Budget-Friendly Recipes

Visit Your Family Doctor or a Walk-in Clinic for Routine Issues

Unless you think your life is really, really in danger – you can’t breath, you’re losing lots of blood, you think you’re having a heart attack or a stroke – skip the emergency room. Make an appointment with your family doctor, or, if it’s a more pressing matter that needs immediate attention, visit a walk-in clinic. These options are able to help you with issues like treating a cold or the flu, wrapping a sprain, and tending to minor allergic reactions. And the bill that comes later could be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars less than a trip to the emergency room.

Related: Medicare vs. Medicaid

DID YOU KNOW? 3Rivers offers Health Savings Plans! Find out more.

For more information on cutting down health and wellness costs, check out this article.

Please note: I have no expertise in the medical field. This advice was obtained through my own research and the Learnvest article linked above. I highly encourage you to discuss this advice, as well as the above-mentioned options and lifestyle changes, with your doctor before taking any kind of action.