If your child has a chronic condition like asthma, it’s not just enough to keep your child healthy. You owe it to yourself and the other members of your family to keep your family’s finances healthy as well.
Unfortunately, paying for the treatment your child’s chronic condition requires may be quite expensive, and can easily drain the family finances. Health insurance premiums, medications, doctor visits, co-pays/co-insurance… it all adds up quickly!
Don’t feel overwhelmed! Even though managing the healthcare maze can be tough, here are the 6 Crucial Steps to staying ahead of the game:
Read Your Health Insurance Plan. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many Americans have no idea what is in their health insurance plan. Take an afternoon, sit down and read your health insurance plan from cover to cover. Even if your health insurance is decidedly skimpy, it’s better to know now than while you’re in an emergency room with your sick child.
Understand Your Formulary. If you understand what’s in your prescription drug formulary and how it works, you are way ahead of the game. The formulary is the list of medications covered by your health insurance plan and the co-pays for each one.
Bring Your Formulary to the Doctor. If your child’s condition requires regular medication, it’s a good idea to bring your formulary with you when you take your child to the doctor. That way, if the doctor needs to prescribe medications for your child, you can ask about cheaper medications and will know how much those medications will cost you. Speaking of…
Don’t Be Afraid of Generic Medications! Generic medications are lower-cost copies of more expensive brand name medications. If your child’s doctor is prescribing brand name drugs for your child’s treatment, ask if there are lower cost generic medications available.
Start a Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan (and who doesn’t these days?), start a health savings account (HSA). HSAs allow you to put tax-free money away to help pay for your family’s healthcare expenses. Others like your employer or other family members can also contribute to your HSA.
Start an Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Too! If your employer offers FSAs, start one! With an FSA, money will be taken from your paycheck before taxes and put into an account for you to use for healthcare-related expenses throughout the calendar year. This allows you to pay for things like doctor copays, medications, test, hospitals stays, etc. with tax-free money.
Note: FSAs are a “use it or lose it” proposition. In other words, any money you don’t use by the end of the year is lost, so be careful with what you put away in an FSA!