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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Don’t Invest In a Career. Here Is Everything You Can Do To Build a Life

The world is changing rapidly. The way we live has already changed. The way we work keeps changing. Entire industries are crumbling. Robots are eating jobs. People are scared of losing their jobs. Nobody is safe.

But people are empowered to express themselves more than ever. The opportunities to create, to become a part of a global conversation and transformation are now more than you can ever imagine. There are now more free online resources to help you start and pursue your life’s work.

You can take your idea, business, or career, and turn it into something truly successful and amazing. It’s easier to transform your passion into your job than finding a job that matches your what you love to do.

What will you do with that?

What will your place be in this new, interesting world? Will you have a voice? Will you be a creator, or just a consumer?

You can do something.

Do something interesting, meaningful, different, amazing and truly remarkable. You have a choice. Choose to show your most amazing work to the world.

Inappropriate attention to detail is the reason why you have not launched your work. By all means, get it right but don’t aim for perfection.

Constantly push to evolve your ideas, even if you are not ready to launch your life’s work yet. Don’t get stuck!

“Whatever you dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”  Goethe

Be a part of the conversation, and say something remarkable. Create something unique, new, beautiful. Build upon the works of others and transform it into your own.

Don’t be subject to the tyranny of “how things have always been done”. Find your true north and push past the default.

Here is everything you can choose to do to build a life that matters to you

Start a blog, write at least a little each day. Write a book. Or an ebook. Share your tips with others online or through a free ebook. Write poetry and publish it on the web. Create interesting, lovely or funny videos, put them on You Tube.

Create an app that will solve a problem in people’s lives. Become a watchdog to replace the faltering newspapers. Explore the world, and blog about it.

Try something you’ve always been afraid to try, and put it on video. Be yourself, loudly. Start a new company, doing only one thing, but doing it very well.

Start a business that does a service you’ve always wanted, or that you are frustrated with in other companies because the service sucks. Put your heart into something.

Say something that no one else dares to say. Do something others are afraid to do. Help someone no one else cares to help. Make the lives of others better.

Make music that makes others want to weep, to laugh, to create. Inspire others by being inspiring. Teach young people to do amazing things. Write a play, get others to act in it, record it. Empower others to do things they’ve never been able to do before.

Read, and read, and then write. Love, and love, and then help others to love. Do something good and ask others to pass it on. Be profound. Find focus in a world without it.

Become minimalist in a world of dizzying complexity. Reach out to those who are frustrated, depressed, angry, confused, sad, hurt. Be the voice for those without one. Learn, do, then teach.

Meet new people, become fast friends. Dare to be wrong. Take lots and lots of pictures. Explore new cultures. Be different. Paint a huge mural. Create a web comic. Be a dork, but do it boldly.

Interview people. Observe people. Create new clothes. Take old stuff and make new stuff from it. Read weird stuff. Study the greats, and emulate them.

Be interested in others. Surprise people. Cook great food, and share it. Be open-minded. Help someone else start a small business. Focus on less but do it better.

Give people a ride in your car. Use Uber to your advantage. Start an online shop on Shopify. Create and sell stuff on Etsy.

Help others achieve their dreams. Put a smile on someone’s face, every day. Start an open-source project. Make a podcast. Start a movement. Be brave. Be honest. Be hilarious. Get really, really good at something. Practice a lot. A lot. Start now. Try.

If you’re willing to take the risk of sharing yourself and your ideas with the world, you can create value you will be proud of.

Show up everyday and work on your most important life work. Whether the outcome is magnificent or eternal, whether it changes people’s lives, changes the world, changes you or groundbreaking, it matters that you show up.

By focusing on doing the one thing that excites you, you not only give yourself a shot at putting in the effort to become amazingly great at something, but you also make it easier for potential customers or employers to see you as “the guy who’s really great at that thing.”

If you pursue your dreams long enough, compounding takes effect. Momentum will surge. Don’t give up just yet.  Action begets outcome. Outcome begets action. Rinse, lather and repeat and you have momentum. You’ll become unstoppable.

Start. Move, make, create, ship, do. Just start. That’s what entrepreneurs do. They start. They start something. Sometimes it is something big. Sometimes it is a big failure. Either way, they got stuff done.

Don’t invest in a career. Build a life. Take your dreams seriously.

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