PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Healthcare costs are expected to rise this year on everything from prescription drugs to co-pays.
However, there are ways you can save and even get care for free.
Emma Wright said her prescription medications for diabetes and heart disease cost a small fortune.
This year, Wright and the rest of us can expect to pay even more for prescriptions and that’s not all.
“The Affordable [Care] Act went through and basically, what that’s going to do for some insurers, is raise the premiums,” GoodHousekeeping.com Consumer Expert Carmen Ulrich said.
Experts said premiums could raise as much as 9 percent.
However, help is available now and all you have to do is know where to look for it.
“If you get your insurance through your employer, you can change the plan of coverage that you have,” Ulrich said.
One way to help is to opt for a flexible spending account.
“This is 30 percent or more savings, pre-tax money that you get to put aside to pay for all those healthcare costs,” Ulrich said.
When it comes to prescriptions Ulrich said. to buy online.
“You want to look at discounts for enrolling into a 90-day refill program,” Ulrich said.
Sites such as TogetherRXAccess.com offer up to 40 percent off on common prescriptions, depending on your household income.
For free prescription medications, check out the Partnership for Prescription Assistance website.
There’s even a site that can help you find discount dental procedures called DentalPlans.com experts said always negotiate medical bills.
If you can’t do it yourself, there are people who can help you.
“What happens a lot of times is that the insurance company tries to find a way to hold the money and deny the claims,” Med Wise Insurance Advocacy President Adria Gross said.
Gross runs the site MedicalInsuranceAdvocacy.com She said she’s helped many clients save thousands on denied claims.
“I know exactly what to do and what to say to the insurance company to possibly get them to pay for the claim,” Gross said.
Another tip is if you can’t afford to go to the hospital, you need to know about the Hill-Burton Program.
It can help find a hospital near you that’s federally subsidized to offer free care.
Also, experts say you shouldn’t overlook tax deductions for healthcare.
If your medical and dental bills add up to more than 7.5 percent of your gross income, you’re entitled to a deduction.