Where’s Your Raise…It’s In Your HC Benefits

According to Hewitt Associates, healthcare premiums and out-of-pocket costs will go up 8.9% next year.  This is at the same time as many people are hurting from the economy and seeing gas and food prices go up.  I can guess that the average raise next year won’t be near enough to make up for this with most people.

In an article by Sandra Block at The USA Today, she suggests several things on controlling costs.  None of them are new, but perhaps they are worth reiterating:

  • Use generic drugs whenever possible.  [You should ask your physician or pharmacist if there is a generic alternative available.  You should also not be afraid to ask for samples for new prescriptions from your physician.]
  • Sign up for mail-order.

“Unless you have a crush on your pharmacist, there’s really no reason to go to the drugstore every 30 days to pick up your blood pressure pills.”

  • Contribute to a flexible spending account so you use pre-tax dollars to pay for out-of-pocket costs [but be aware of the use-it-or-lose-it rules].

With more and more companies pushing more cost to the employee or even dropping benefits, you might have to start recognizing the value of having a good coverage plan as part of your total compensation.

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