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The reality is health insurance costs don’t go away come retirement. In fact, as CNN Money reports, now that you don’t have employer-covered health insurance, your options could be costlier.

Nonetheless, those who are 65 or older can qualify for Medicare packages. Still, what are your options when you are approaching retirement? How can you make your health insurance more affordable? Read on to find out.

1. Consider Medicare

As mentioned, if you are over 65 years old, you are eligible for Medicare benefits. (Speaking of which, what is Medicare Part C? A look at its features and benefits.)

As CNN Money states, you can choose the general Medicare package or enroll in Medigap policies, which provide services beyond your typical Medicare healthcare insurance.

If you are interested in Medicare, speak with a qualified professional about your Medicare and medicals options, as well as which Medicare package would best meet your healthcare needs.

2. Take Preventive Healthcare Seriously

In general, most healthcare plans cover preventive healthcare services. Meaning, shots, screening tests, etc. These services should come at no cost if you receive preventive care from an in-network provider.

Such preventive health care services include (but are not limited to) abdominal aortic aneurysm one-time screening, blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, immunization vaccines (diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, etc.).

A Word About In-Network Versus Out-of-Pocket Providers

In a nutshell, in-network providers offer lower prices on health services. This is because they are contracted with the insurance provider as opposed to out-of-pocket providers, which are not.

Know that just because a provider accepts your insurance does not mean they are in network. To make sure you receive care from an in-network provider, contact your insurance for a list of in-network provider names.

Also, know that in some cases it may be wise to seek medical care from an out-of-pocket provider, especially if they are an experienced and reputable specialist or you need medical treatment as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, only you can be the judge on when to go with in-network versus out-of-pocket providers, and vice versa.

3. Take Advantage of Health Apps

This especially applies to Apple’s Health app, which has a medical ID feature that allows you to input your medical history (including allergies, blood type, and current medications, among others).

If something does happen, paramedics can quickly access your medical history via your phone without breaching your privacy.

4. Exercise Regularly

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you are older than 65 and are generally physically fit and have no limiting health conditions, you should exercise at least 2.5 hours each week. This should be moderate aerobic exercise.

In conjunction with this, the CDC also advices to do muscles strength activities 2 or more days a week. The strength work should activate all muscle groups: hips, back, lets, chest, shoulder, abs, and arms. (For exercise alternatives, check with the CDC.)

5. Don’t Forget Your HSA

While you may be enrolled in Medicare now, you still can pull from your health savings account (if you have one). However, know that you cannot contribute more funds to your account after reaching 65 and with Medicare.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are approaching retirement or are currently enjoying it, you can still be proactive and take control of your health.

Continue to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, research thoroughly on healthcare options, and take care of all preventive health services.

Doing this decreases the chances of frequently going to the doctor’s office, which means less money spent on costly copayments.

What healthcare tips do you have? Has retirement changed the way you look at your healthcare options? Leave a comment.

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