We have the power to slash healthcare costs in a single bound. Here's how!
By Sari Harrar
Illustration: Arlen Schumer
Maria Taylor's family finances had reached a precarious state last year. The 46-year-old stay-at-home mom had two kids in college and a husband whose telecommunications job seemed in jeopardy. Desperate for a way to reduce expenses, Taylor, who lives in Neptune, New Jersey, took a hard look at her family's yearly healthcare costs. Changing the health insurance to a plan with a high deductible saved $4,000 a year. Switching from a name-brand drug to a generic cut the cost of her daughter's prescription medication by 66 percent. And buying the sleek black frames for her prescription eyeglasses at Costco instead of a pricey optical boutique saved her more than $150. "Once the recession hit, I was even happier that we cut our costs," she says.
Unfortunately, not all Americans are making smart healthcare choices like Taylor's. Nearly half of us skip needed drugs, treatments, and screenings to save money, according to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Those decisions can be risky. "Your most important asset is your health, not your money," says health economics expert Mark Fendrick, MD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.