It's no secret that America has some health-care problems to contend with. Costs are rising at an alarming clip, millions are uninsured, employers are increasingly less able to offer health-care insurance to employees, and so on.
There are lots of opinions and recommendations out there on what to do. Even President Bush jumped into the fray recently by proposing a health insurance tax deduction for Americans. Some say this move will make coverage more affordable for citizens, while others believe that it will help too few uninsured people and may result in many companies opting to not offer health-care coverage.
While politicians and policy thinkers debate, some companies have been taking matters into their own hands. As The New York Times reported recently, many large American companies are establishing health-care clinics on their premises. These clinics help companies by lowering their overall health-care costs, and they help workers by offering them quick care without having to spend hours in waiting rooms.
Companies with such centers include Sprint Nextel
What to do
So what should you and I be doing to keep our health-care costs as manageable as possible? Well, unless we run a big company, we're probably not going to open a clinic at our workplace. And there isn't much we can do about proposed legislation, other than tell our elected representatives in Washington how we feel. But here are a few options we do have right now:
- Consider using health savings accounts (HSAs), which my colleague Dan Caplinger discussed in this article. (He links to other helpful articles there, too.) HSAs are designed to help you pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses that your insurance doesn't pay for. They're not for everyone, though, so read up.
- Consider flexible spending accounts (FSAs). They permit you to sock away some pre-tax money for qualified health-related expenses. Read up on them in this Mary Dalrymple article.
Learn more about the less-exciting-but-still-critical topic of insurance by visiting our Insurance Center. You may not have thought about some kinds of insurance, such as disability or long-term care insurance, but they're vital for many people. And, of course, properly insuring your property is vital, too. Take a little time to learn more, and you may be very happy you did.
These articles may also be of interest:
- 9 Ways to Cut Health Costs
- 60-Second Guide to Insurance
- How to Insure a Bundle
- Disaster-Proof Your Prized Possessions