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How to plan for health care costs

Medical bills are a truth of life within the U.S. — so is the hardship many Americans expertise paying these payments. A file $140 billion in medical bills went unpaid final year, in accordance to a latest study within the Journal of the American Medical Association.

But whether or not you are simply beginning your career or getting ready for retirement, there are methods to plan forward to cover health care costs. For those that qualify, look right into a tax-advantaged Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). HSAs can be found to individuals with a high-deductible health plan.

“You own that, and you get to put pre-tax dollars there. It earns interest, and if you change employment you can take it with you,” defined Dan Geltrude, an accountant and founding father of Geltrude & Company. But FSAs are completely different. 

“It is pre-tax dollars. However, it’s owned by your employer. It doesn’t earn interest, and you must spend it within the planned year,” he stated.  

$300,000 in payments

According to a Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate, a median retired couple in 2021 may have roughly $300,000 saved to cover rest-of-life health payments.

“That number is staggering. So what to do? Well, you need to start saving as early as possible,” Geltrude stated. “As the saying goes, Best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. Second best time is today. So start putting those dollars aside in anticipation of what costs you’re going to have in retirement — especially for health care.”

He additionally really useful staying in-network when searching for medical care to preserve general costs down. For sufferers who would possibly discover themselves caught with a mountain of out-of-network fees, the No Surprises Act may supply some safety beginning subsequent year. 

Ultimately, Geltrude suggested: “Don’t just accept your medical charges as is. You’re the consumer — you have the right to question these things.” 

Review your medical payments fastidiously and test for unreasonable fees. You can even ask for monetary help from health suppliers or choose right into a month-to-month billing plan. “There could be some negotiating in those costs,” Geltrude stated.