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Speak up to reduce healthcare costs

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SUNNYVALE, Calif. (11/7/11)--Open enrollment season this year will see more workers  facing higher out-of-pocket costs after updating their health insurance plans (FinanciallyFit.Yahoo.com Oct. 31). Employee-sponsored plans are expected to jump 9% from 2010 levels, to $4,129 for families and $921 for singles, according to a recent study from The Kaiser Family Foundation (kff.org Sep. 27).

You might not be able to control health insurance premium increases, but you can ease your overall health care expenses. Consider these moves to offset the anticipated premium increases:

  • Tell your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows you're trying to reduce these expenses before you schedule treatments or walk out with a prescription. The physician might prescribe generic medications, alternative treatments, or work with you to schedule appointments in a way that takes advantage of when insurance allowances renew.
  • Ask for samples. Many doctors and some pharmacies often have samples of products and health care items. Be sure to ask for samples related to your treatment during your next visit.
  •  Go generic. Buying generic medications and finding pharmacies with special pricing options for some medications will help reduce annual health-related expenses. Worried about the effectiveness of generics? Doctors say generic medications are just as effective as brand-name medications because they use the same active ingredients and manufacturing specifications.
For related information, read "Health-Care Reform Changes Flex-Spending Reimbursement Rules" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.