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7 Ways to Save on Healthcare and Fitness

Are you taking advantage of money-saving fitness and health tax breaks? Money Girl covers seven tips to take charge of your health and wealth so you can feel good, look good, and live the lifestyle you want.

By
Laura Adams, MBA
8-minute read
Episode #413

In other words, take advantage of the time each year after you reach your deductible so you can get your insurance company to pay for as much of your medical expenses as possible.

Savings Tip #4: Max Out Your Benefits

Health plans benefits, such as free preventative checkups and deductibles, are tied to an annual schedule. That means you need to pay attention to the calendar in order to max out your benefits.

For instance, if you burn through your health deductible and need a medical procedure, make sure to get it before the end of the year. If you wait until the following year, you could end up paying more than you have to.

In other words, take advantage of the time each year after you reach your deductible so you can get your insurance company to pay for as much of your medical expenses as possible.

If there are capped benefits, like a certain number of therapy sessions or an allowable amount of dental work, get part completed in December and the rest in January, in order to take advantage of 2 years’ worth of benefits.

And don’t skimp on the free preventative appointments, like annual physicals, well-woman visits, mammograms, prostate screenings, dental cleanings, and eye exams. Insurer Cigna found that on average only about half of workers take advantage of free preventive checkups and tests.

I know medical appointments can be time consuming—just remember how lucky you are to have benefits to begin with, and don’t squander the opportunity to improve or monitor your health for free.

Savings Tip #5: Use Wellness Programs at Work

Many employers understand that healthy workers are good for the company's bottom line. It's not uncommon for large organizations to offer financial incentives for losing weight, walking a certain number of miles, completing online health counseling, taking annual biometric screenings, or using an in-house gym.

Typical employer rewards include gift cards, additional contributions to your HSA or FSA, or even extra vacation time.

See also: How to Pay Less in Taxes, Part 1

Savings Tip #6: Use Healthcare Subsidies

If you don’t have health insurance through work or on your own, remember that you’re legally required to have it. According to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, if you can afford heath insurance but choose not to buy it, you’ll be subject to a tax penalty.

The amount of financial assistance you can get depends on your income compared to the Federal Poverty Level. For 2015, the poverty level varies from just under $12,000 to about $41,000, depending on the state where you live and the number of people in your household.

In most states, if you earn less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, you can get tax credits, which reduce your monthly health insurance premium.

That means if you’re single with no dependents and earn less than about $48,000, you may qualify for a healthcare subsidy. Or if you’re a family of 4 and earn less than about $100,000, you may also qualify for assistance.

The next open enrollment period to get health insurance for 2016 begins November 1, 2015 and ends January 31, 2016. So if you remain uninsured, don’t miss the opportunity to investigate your options and get the health coverage you need to protect your health and your finances.

See also: What Is Obamacare? 8 Facts You Should Know

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About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlersbook is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.