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Health Insurance Costs and Your Budget

September 26th, 2011 0 comments
Budgeting

Do you have a section in your budget for your health insurance, as well as health-related costs?  From the areas you should consider to the ways you can keep to your budget, let’s look at some of these interesting dynamics.  Your budget will thank you.

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It’s Not Just About Health Insurance

You more than likely knew this already, but you should be considering much more than your premiums when budgeting for health insurance and health-related expenses.

Your health insurance premiums and any major static payments that you make for your health should be included.  The latter could comprise of prescription discount plans, other insurances (dental, chiropractic plans, etc.), and regular medications.  Depending on your situation, you could have a number of items on the list, or it could simply be your premiums and maybe one or two medications.

Beyond the expenses that are insurance related, there are further things to consider in your budget.  For instance, you should have a health savings account or health-related (unless you include all items, such as car and home, in one) emergency account for the unknown.  After all, out-of-pocket expenses can come from nowhere and undermine your budget if you’re not prepared.

Keeping the Budget

Find a method that works for you.  For instance, you could keep an Excel spreadsheet, a little notebook, or take a look at budgeting software – from freeware to full-featured programs and even apps for your smartphone (really, they’re quite nice).

Separate your health-related items into segments.  You could have one line just for medications, and another for your chiropractic appointment, and so forth.  Or, you could have two lines: one for static expenses (premiums and current medications) and another for the rest (savings account, over-the-counter medications, and other estimated items, for instance).

Make sure that you stay up-to-date with your budget.  As a number of items will be manifest in “expected” expenses, you can adjust it to make it more accurate.  Plus, you’ll be able to allocate more money – if it works out less than predicted, perhaps you can do something with the extra cash to get ahead.

This is where the method becomes quite important.  If you are using pen and paper, you might have to do more work figuring things out.  Take full advantage of any tools you use to keep your budget.  Graphs and reports can be nice, along with other useful features. If you are using a program or app, make sure that you can export and/or synchronise your data, so that you don’t lose your carefully planned budget if something happens.

Overview

Having and keeping a budget is incredibly important for your financial success.  After all, it can be difficult to keep track of your income, expenses, and any changes you need to make to thrive with your finances.

Break down your medical costs, from insurance to unexpected scenarios.  Don’t forget to keep in mind those scenarios that can devastate your budget when you are not prepared for it.  Make sure that you’re well prepared to handle them as best as possible.

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