I don’t know about you, but I’ve been watching inflation slowly push up all my everyday expenses over the last year or so. As a single mom with three kids and a mortgage, every dollar counts. I can’t influence the economy, but there are things I can do to offset the squeeze of inflation in my personal budget.
An area where many of us have seen increased spending over the last two years largely in thanks to—cough, cough—the pandemic is healthcare expenses. I’ve got two secret weapons I use to offset those expenses.
Use a Flexible Spending Account for Healthcare Costs
Thanks to keeping up with my budget, I know how much I typically spend in a year on medical and dental expenses. I use that information to participate in my employer’s Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan which allows me to set aside pre-tax money from each paycheck that I can use toward eligible out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Because I’m not paying tax on that money, it costs me less than it would otherwise.
The savings varies based on your tax bracket, but on average, you save about 30% by using pre-tax dollars* to pay medical bills. Paying into your FSA also functions as a kind of Sinking Fund because it’s automatically set aside every time you get paid, and the money is there when an expense (expected or otherwise) pops up.
Save More with Discounts from AblePay
When GOLD partnered with AblePay last year, I was a little skeptical at first. An off-the-top discount on my medical bills at no cost to me? What’s the catch? How do they pay for it? So, I was a little unsure, but intrigued, and when I found out more, their business model made sense. In a nutshell, they use the power of collective bargaining (a large AblePay member base) combined with a promise to pay the bills from the medical facilities much faster than they usually get paid to negotiate a discount off those bills. AblePay keeps a small percentage of that discount and passes the rest on to you.
Getting Started with AblePay
So, what does that look like in real life? I signed up last July and have been using AblePay and getting discounts since then.** Signing up was fast and easy, and the cards for me and my kids arrived in the mail not long after. After that, it was as simple as adding AblePay as a secondary insurance. AblePay has partnered with many of the major health networks in the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia area. You can see who accepts AblePay on their website.
Personally, I’m an LVHN girl, and updated my insurance to add AblePay as a secondary through my online health portal. That was it! At appointment check-ins, the staff knows exactly what to do, and even my copays get billed through to AblePay. I like never having to fish my card out of my purse during check-in, and love how easy it is to pay through AblePay’s portal.
Paying Bills with AblePay
My healthcare bills all go to AblePay now, and I get text and email alerts when a new claim is in my portal. From there, I can either do nothing and let it pay on my default setting (I have it connected to my bank account to earn the maximum discount), or I can log into the portal and pick a different payment choice for a particular bill. If I get hit with a big, unexpected bill, I’ve got built in flexibility with AblePay. They’ll allow me to break up the bill into several payments if I can’t afford to pay the whole thing at once.
As you can see in the chart below, the discount gets smaller the more the payments are spread out, but you aren’t paying a finance charge and, even better, your health provider has already been paid in full so there isn’t a bill in collections negatively impacting your credit.
Stack the Savings
All the claims in my AblePay portal are printable and show all the information I need to submit for reimbursement through my FSA program. It makes it so easy for me to save both ways on my medical expenses, and the AblePay new claim alerts I get are the perfect reminder to file an FSA reimbursement claim for the bill. As a result, I’m not just saving money, I’m also saving time and mental energy! But as for the money, in my family of four, I’ve saved $162.96 over nine months with AblePay.
Ready to get some savings of your own? Find out more about AblePay on their website, and ask your employer if they offer an FSA or HSA program you can take advantage of.
*This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide tax advice. You should consult your own tax advisor regarding your personal tax situation. **All views expressed are those of the author. Contact AblePay with questions and for more information, terms, details, and exclusions.