If you're like most families, health expenses are one of your biggest budget items. Even with good insurance, deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket costs can add up quickly. And if you don't have insurance, or if your coverage isn't very comprehensive, medical bills can be a real financial hardship.
To help ease the burden, there are a few things you can do to work on your family's health expenses.
Subscribe to a Health Plan
Health care tends to be expensive, and sometimes immediate medical procedures can be way out of our budget. This is why health insurance plans are offered to back you up financially when you need them. In addition, it is an engagement with a company that gives you financial assurance in case something unexpected happens.
There are many kinds of insurance, but health plans are one of the most popular types, as they can help ease medical payments. However, if you want one, you need to opt for something better suited to your family's needs.
There are many types of medical plans you can choose from. With companies each having specific programs, Medicare plans comparison is key to selecting what works for your family. In addition, you must consider factors like the cost you must regularly pay, the health institutions the company or plan is affiliated with, its benefits, and the co-paying.
The best way to select the best health plan is to help assess your family's overall condition and identify the services they need that benefit them most.
Assess Your Family's Well Being
You need to determine the overall health of your family members. This can help with determining how many expenses you need to set aside. Think of each family member and yourself, and then ask the following questions:
Do they have any health conditions? - This is the most obvious question you need to weigh. Which one of your family members is experiencing anything health related? If there are, what kind is it? Does it affect one's physical well-being? Is it something affecting one's mental health? Is it something temporary or long-term?
Do these health conditions, if any, require treatment? - This question is another necessary way to help budget for your family's health. If any of your family members have a medical condition, does it need some treatment? If so, what kind of treatment? And how long will this treatment take?
For example, a member with type 2 diabetes may need maintenance medicine. If a member is currently down with the flu, they need to rest and may temporarily need to take medicine. If a member is currently suffering from mental illnesses like depression, they may need medication and undergo therapy for an uncertain period of time.
How much do treatments for such conditions cost? - Once you've already assessed the treatments, the last thing you need to work with is how much they cost. Moreover, you should consider the time frame of when said treatment is needed.
Prioritize long-term ones over short ones. With this, you can immediately get a reasonable sum for a budget, where you can set aside part of your savings to help with your family's medical needs.
Assume a Budget
Once you have assessed your family's health conditions and the necessary treatments and medications, you can now consider a budget. If you have a health plan for your family, this budget will usually cover how much you have to co-pay and things that the plan does not cover.
What you could focus on is an emergency fund. This money can help when something unexpected happens that badly affects a family member's well-being, and you need to pay immediately.
The first thing you need to consider, of course, is your income. It is often recommended to take a few percent of your monthly income - about 2 to 8% - and store it until you need it. If you have another member of the family who also provides financially, it is best to encourage them to pool in a share of their savings to help with the funding.
Keep Staying Healthy
While you must manage your expenses, there are simple ways to help prevent untoward health concerns. The simplest way to do so is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Many health conditions can be affected by improper diet and a destructive lifestyle. Moreover, our body's tolerance for certain foods and activities also plays a role in determining our health status.
Preventing bad medical conditions is one of the easiest things you can do to save money on hospital trips, treatments, and the like. In addition, a proper and healthy diet and physical activity that works with your family can help keep them free of medical troubles in the long run.
Your health is important, and you should always maintain your health, get regular check-ups, exercise, and eat right. But health care and medical treatments can get expensive. When health emergencies come, you need to be ready to have the right insurance to pay for health care.
What about long-term health care? Are you prepared for the costs and family burdens that future declining health and age can have on you and your family? Remember, health insurance and Medicare will not pay for most long-term health care expenses even though many think they are covered. The financial costs can be devastating, but the consequences on your loved ones can be life changing.
Long-term health care can be needed at any age, but the risk of needing care increases as you age. Some people require ongoing medical services from skilled and semiskilled professionals. However, most long-term health care is "custodial" - meaning help with daily living activities or supervision due to memory loss.
Being prepared for the consequences of aging should be a vital part of your planning. For many people, Long-Term Care Insurance is an option to consider safeguarding income and assets, access quality care, and ease family stress. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s.
About the Author
Tiffany Wagner is a seasoned freelance writer whose expertise lies in finance and real estate. She’s also an active advocate for financial literacy and tours across the country to promote the cause whenever she has the time. When not working Tiffany binges on her favorite tv series on Netflix.
Contributor since September 8th, 2022
Your health and budget are tied together. As you age, you should be concerned about the growing cost of long-term health care. Changes in health, mobility, and memory lead to a need for long-term care, and those costs can be significant.
There is now an additional concern for new taxes to address the pressure on each state's Medicaid budgets. The State of Washington has already implemented the so-called LTC Tax on residents without qualified Long-Term Care Insurance in place. Several other states are pursuing their own LTC Tax, including:
If you live in one of those states, you should consider taking proactive action to at least avoid the tax. The tax would be placed on 100% of earned income. The primary benefit of Long-Term Care Insurance is to protect your 401(k) and other assets from rising long-term health care expenses. Avoiding a tax is an added bonus.
Find Professional Help When Shopping for LTC Coverage
Long-Term Care Insurance comes in various types and options. In accordance with Section 7702(b) of U.S. Code, tax-qualified Long-Term Care Insurance policies include significant consumer protections, regulated benefit triggers, and tax incentives. However, many general insurance agents and financial advisors lack proper training on these products, underwriting, and policy design.
In addition, residents of certain states who don't own a qualified LTC Insurance policy are subject to a tax. To navigate the numerous options, you need the assistance of a knowledgeable Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. Additionally, a specialist can assist you in discovering the most cost-effective option based on your age, health, and family history.
Locate a specialist you can rely on who has dealt with all the top companies and understands underwriting, policy design, and claims - Work With a Specialist.
Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS
There is a lot of misinformation or incorrect information about long-term health care planning on the internet. Not every insurance agent or financial advisor has the expertise to assist you with long-term care planning. LTC NEWS can help.
The Frequently Asked Questions section of LTC NEWS addresses the most frequently asked issues concerning long-term health care planning.
You can find all the resources available on LTC NEWS right here - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning.
The cost of long-term health care services is rapidly increasing. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator provides you with the actual and projected costs of care services where you reside.
Curious how much Long-Term Care Insurance costs? Learn more here - How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?
How About Elderly Parents?
If your older parents or family members are declining and need help now, what can you do to help? You can get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether or not they have an LTC policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea.
Is a Reverse Mortgage Helpful?
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource. You can fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.
You might be eligible at younger ages as well.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew," will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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