Health care costs in the United States have risen dramatically over the last few years, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.

Watching the cost of health care increase can be scary, especially when you have a family to take care of.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to ease your anxiety and make sure your family’s health care costs don’t get out of hand.

Listed below are ten steps families can take to start lowering their health care costs today.

Reasons Health Care Costs are Rising

Have you ever wondered why your health care continues to get more expensive? There are actually a few different factors that contribute to the cost of health care, including the following:

  • Medical professionals are reimbursed for every test and procedure, leading to over-treatment in many cases
  • Chronic illness is on the rise in the U.S. — it’s expected to increase by 57 percent by the year 2020
  • Consumers lack the resources they need to make informed decisions about their health
  • Many consumers skip over preventative care and require reactive treatments and acute care later on as a result
  • Doctors spend more on testing out of fear of malpractice lawsuits

There are plenty of other issues that also contribute to the rising cost of health care, and we, as consumers, can’t change the system overnight to make it less expensive.

What we can do, though, is start taking steps to make health care more affordable for ourselves and our families.

How to Lower Health Care Costs

Okay, you know a bit more about why health care is getting so expensive. But, how do you go about bringing those costs down?

There are actually lots of things you can do to make health care more affordable. Start by implementing these tips:

1. Establish Healthy Habits

As we mentioned above, an increase in chronic illness is driving up the costs of health care for everyone. What’s the best way to prevent chronic illness? Start living a healthy lifestyle now.

Make an effort to establish and maintain healthy habits for yourself and your family. Eat a healthy, balanced diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and quality protein sources) and exercise regularly.

Avoid smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, too. Both of these can increase your risk of developing a whole host of chronic diseases.

2. Utilize Preventative Medicine

In addition to implementing healthy lifestyle changes, it’s also important to make sure you and your family members are keeping up with your preventative care appointments.

Physicals, dental cleanings, and regular wellness visits are often fully covered by your insurance provider. These visits can help you catch problems early and avoid the need for emergency care later on.

3. Compare Several Different Insurance Plans

Don’t just accept the first insurance plan you find. There are literally thousands of options available on the market.

Do your homework and compare plans to find an option that provides you with the greatest amount of services for the best price.

Pay attention to each plan’s deductible, too, and be sure to find out if you qualify for a health savings account, too. These accounts are usually tax-free and can help you save more money on your health care.

4. Compare Prescription Prices

Before you fill a prescription, compare prices between a few different pharmacies. Some pharmacies will even price match to retain your business and help you get a better deal.

Remember, too, that you can often find coupons online or from prescription manufacturers to help bring the cost down even more.

5. Fill Prescriptions Through an Online Pharmacy

Another way to save money on prescription drugs is to fill them through an online pharmacy.

You can even work with international pharmacies — like this pharmacy that’s based in Canada — to find better prices.

6. Stay In-Network Whenever You Can

One of the best things you can do to keep your out-of-pocket costs low is to make sure you’re visiting doctors, dentists, and hospitals that are part of your insurance network.

When you’re trying to find a doctor, make sure they’re in your network whenever you can. Most insurance providers make it easy for you to search on their website and find in-network doctors.

7. Use Urgent Care Instead of the Emergency Room

Emergency room visits and ambulance rides are incredibly expensive and should be avoided at all costs if you’re trying to save money on health care.

Obviously, there are times when emergency care is required. But, often, you can get the same treatment for less money if you go to an urgent care clinic instead.

8. Look into Telehealth Appointments

Telehealth can be another great option if you’re trying to save money. Telehealth involves working with a medical professional over the phone or via an online video chat.

Many practices have started offering telehealth as an alternative to traditional in-person visits to accommodate busy patients.

If your regular health care provider can’t see you, check to see if your insurance plan covers telehealth. This can be much cheaper than going to see an out-of-network doctor.

9. Read Your Bills Carefully

Error rates in medical billing are incredibly high and contribute to high health care costs.

Be sure to go over your medical bills carefully and check for errors before you pay. This not only helps you save money, but it also helps keep the general cost of health insurance down for everyone.

10. Look for Insurance Plan Discounts

Many insurance providers will offer members a discount for living a healthy lifestyle.

For example, you might be able to get a discount for wearing a fitness tracker or joining a gym. Look into your plan to see if any such discount exists that you and your family can take advantage of.

Looking for More Ways to Lower Health Care Costs?

As you can see, there are lots of things you can do to bring down your family’s health care costs. These ten tips are a great starting point.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t panic. Remember that even just implementing one or two of these tips can make a big difference.

If you want to learn more about health and making health care more affordable, be sure to check out the health and fitness section of our site today.

There’s tons of great information here that can help you save money while still putting your health first.

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If You Want to be as Great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Sir Richard Branson, Read This 1 - Florida Independent
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If You Want to be as Great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Sir Richard Branson, Read This

Success, real insane success is a marathon. Oh, and there are no shortcuts. You can’t spring your way to greatness. It takes times, a very long time.

Here is Richard Branson’s business timeline – his business ventures from the 1960s to today. It’s a very long list. It will give you an idea of what it took him to get to now.

These are two of the most upvoted responses on Quora to this question: “How can I be as great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Sir Richard Branson?

1. Justine Musk, Canadian author, and the first wife of Elon Musk

Extreme success results from an extreme personality and comes at the cost of many other things. Extreme success is different from what I suppose you could just consider ‘success’, so know that you don’t have to be Richard or Elon to be affluent and accomplished and maintain a great lifestyle.

Your odds of happiness are better that way. But if you’re extreme, you must be what you are, which means that happiness is more or less beside the point. These people tend to be freaks and misfits who were forced to experience the world in an unusually challenging way.

They developed strategies to survive, and as they grow older they find ways to apply these strategies to other things, and create for themselves a distinct and powerful advantage.

They don’t think the way other people think. They see things from angles that unlock new ideas and insights. Other people consider them to be somewhat insane.

Be obsessed.

Be obsessed.

Be obsessed.

If you’re not obsessed, then stop what you’re doing and find whatever does obsess you. It helps to have an ego, but you must be in service to something bigger if you are to inspire the people you need to help you  (and make no mistake, you will need them).

That ‘something bigger’ prevents you from going off into the ether when people flock round you and tell you how fabulous you are when you aren’t and how great your stuff is when it isn’t. Don’t pursue something because you “want to be great”.

Pursue something because it fascinates you, because the pursuit itself engages and compels you. Extreme people combine brilliance and talent with an *insane* work ethic, so if the work itself doesn’t drive you, you will burn out or fall by the wayside or your extreme competitors will crush you and make you cry.

Follow your obsessions until a problem starts to emerge, a big meaty challenging problem that impacts as many people as possible, that you feel hellbent to solve or die trying.

It might take years to find that problem, because you have to explore different bodies of knowledge, collect the dots and then connect and complete them.

It helps to have superhuman energy and stamina. If you are not blessed with godlike genetics, then make it a point to get into the best shape possible.

There will be jet lag, mental fatigue, bouts of hard partying, loneliness, pointless meetings, major setbacks, family drama, issues with the Significant Other you rarely see, dark nights of the soul, people who bore and annoy you, little sleep, less sleep than that. Keep your body sharp to keep your mind sharp. It pays off.

Learn to handle a level of stress that would break most people.

Don’t follow a pre-existing path, and don’t look to imitate your role models. There is no “next step”. Extreme success is not like other kinds of success; what has worked for someone else, probably won’t work for you.

They are individuals with bold points of view who exploit their very particular set of unique and particular strengths. They are unconventional, and one reason they become the entrepreneurs they become is because they can’t or don’t or won’t fit into the structures and routines of corporate life.

They are dyslexic, they are autistic, they have ADD, they are square pegs in round holes, they piss people off, get into arguments, rock the boat, laugh in the face of paperwork.

But they transform weaknesses in ways that create added advantage — the strategies I mentioned earlier — and seek partnerships with people who excel in the areas where they have no talent whatsoever.

They do not fear failure — or they do, but they move ahead anyway. They will experience heroic, spectacular, humiliating, very public failure but find a way to reframe until it isn’t failure at all.

When they fail in ways that other people won’t, they learn things that other people don’t and never will. They have incredible grit and resilience.

They are unlikely to be reading stuff like this. (This is *not* to slam or criticize people who do; I love to read this stuff myself.) They are more likely to go straight to a book: perhaps a biography of Alexander the Great or Catherine the Great* or someone else they consider Great.

Surfing the ‘Net is a deadly timesuck, and given what they know their time is worth — even back in the day when technically it was not worth that — they can’t afford it.

I could go on, it’s a fascinating subject, but you get the idea. I wish you luck and strength and perhaps a stiff drink should you need it.

2. Michael Simmons, Co-Founder, Empact & Award-Winning Entrepreneur

Most of these people have focused on individual traits such as hard work, deliberate practice, etc.. But when we look in the real world, we see that individual traits aren’t the whole story.

There are so many people who work extremely hard, have great ideas, plan out big things and so forth, yet they are not nearly as successful as these four legends.

I myself am an entrepreneur. I have been since the age of 16. Recently though, I had the same underlying question you had.

Because of that, I went out searching for the answer.

Through my interviews I do for Forbes, I recently came across the field of network science. This field has studied how people become successful from a completely different angle. They’ve found that how we build our network may be the best predictor of success.

Since then, I have interviewed many of the world’s top network scientists on a quest to understand how networks create competitive advantage in business and careers.

Out of the four legends that have been mentioned, I feel that the best person to showcase as a prime example of how networks impact success is  Steve Jobs.

Since then, books have been written and movies have been made.

Each has celebrated his legacy and aimed to share the secrets he used to build the largest company in the world; things like attention to detail, attracting world-class talent and holding them to high standards.

We think we understand what caused his success.

We don’t.

We dismiss usable principles of success by labeling them as personality quirks.

What’s often missed is the paradoxical interplay of two of his seemingly opposite qualities;

  1. Maniacal focus
  2. Insatiable curiosity

These weren’t just two random strengths. They may have been his most important as they helped lead to everything else.

Jobs’ curiosity fueled his passion and provided him with access to unique insights, skills, values, and world-class people who complemented his own skillset. Job’s focus brought those to bear in the world of personal electronics.

I don’t just say this as someone who has devoured practically every article, interview, and book featuring him.

I say this as someone who has been monomaniacal in the study and research of what the underlying key components are that create career success.

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