The United Kingdom, Australia and the Netherlands top the list of ‘best healthcare systems’in the world for 2019, providing universal healthcare coverage for citizens and residents. Unfortunately, less than half of the global population does not have essential health service coverage, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Healthcare is expensive, and without insurance, out of pocket costs are high and even untenable. Costs can deter people from accessing health services. The health care burden is very real, and finding clever ways to save money on health costs can help make it accessible for many folks.
Different Healthcare Systems
In the United Kingdom, healthcare is provided by the National Health Service (NHS) to both residents and non-residents. Most of the medical services such as general practitioner (GP) consultation fees and medications are free of charge. However, there are some exclusions – notably dental care – which must be paid for separately. Therefore, even in the UK, taking out a private health insurance is an option to reduce costly dental bills.
The same is true in Australia where the healthcare system is a mixture of public and private funding. Several expenses are also not covered by Medicaid, such as additional optical, dental and physiotherapy treatments. Healthcare in the Netherlands is also a combination of public funds supplemented by private insurers, while in the US, the government has Medicaid and Medicare, which are aimed at the elderly, poor, young and those with disabilities.
Buy Health Insurance Smartly
Private health insurance is not cheap, but there are ways to lower your costs and avoid the negative effects of rising premiums. One is to pay your premiums upfront before a cut-off date or when a price hike is announced to keep your rate locked in for a year. Another tactic is to buy a couples health insurance, saving you money in the cost of premiums, in addition to the convenience of administering only one policy.
If you’re using your credit card to pay your insurance, you’ll earn miles that you can exchange for rewards. Some frequent flyer programmes also offer different types of private insurance for couples, singles, or families. Other health funds may offer good discounts if you settle your annual premiums in one go. It’s also worth asking if your provider offers rebates if you set up a direct debit account as a payment method. Insurance providers may also waive the waiting period if you’re a new member, which means that you can start claiming immediately.
Health Is Wealth
Another approach to lower medical bills is to pay close attention to your health. If you have a chronic condition, you might be forced to reduce your working hours, or may be excluded from the workforce. Early retirement might be the only way to manage your condition, and you will subsequently experience a drastic reduction in income. Meanwhile, your medical bills keep on coming. Therefore, to manage existing illnesses and to minimize the risk of chronic disease in the future, follow a well-balanced diet, exercise, sleep well, and avoid over-consumption of alcohol. Being physically, psychologically and mentally healthy is very important to avoid costly visits to the doctors.
The costs of health are high. Fortunately, you can reduce your insurance expenses if you pay in full, take advantage of rewards programs, or set up a direct debit order. Above all, maintaining your health and adopting a healthy lifestyle can prevent chronic ailments from developing, leading to fewer trips to doctors or hospitals.