When you’re sick, the last thing you want to worry about is money. But unfortunately, being ill can often have a big impact on your finances. From doctor’s visits and medications to comfort food and missed workdays, being sick can take a hit on your finances. Luckily, there are some ways to protect your health and your wallet. Let’s explore whether you really spend more money while you’re sick and offer some practical tips to help you save.
Do You Spend More When You’re Sick?
The short answer is yes, but it varies depending on the severity of your illness and your healthcare coverage. Here are some common expenses that can add up when you’re unwell:
Medical Bills: This one won’t come as a shock, but doctor’s appointments, tests, and medications tend to be expensive if you’re in the US, especially if you don’t have comprehensive health insurance.
Over-the-Counter Medications: Cough syrups, pain relievers, and tissues can add an unexpected increase to your groceries.
Food: Lets’ face it, when you’re sick, cooking isn’t the most appealing task. Added to the fact that you’ll probably want some comfort food, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending a bit more for the easy options. This is especially true if you don’t have someone to prepare meals while you’re sick.
Missed Work: If your illness keeps you out of work, your income will likely take a hit. This will vary based on how many sick days and PTO you have.
Tips to Save Money While You’re Sick
Use Telemedicine: Explore telemedicine options if you have non-emergency health concerns. Many insurance plans now cover virtual doctor’s visits, sometimes they are even free or cheaper than an in-office appointment. Plus, you won’t even have to change out of your pajamas.
Shop Smart for Medications: Compare prices for over-the-counter medications, and consider generic brands. Look for coupons and discounts at your local pharmacy or online.
Avoid Impulse Food Purchases: If you’re low on energy, you probably will want to steer clear of making soups from scratch. However, comparison shopping on coupons can help you save on soups, tea, etc. Plus, many grocery delivery services offer discounts (or even free delivery) on your first order. Another option is to keep a few cans of soup in your cupboard so you don’t have to worry about what to eat when you are sick.
Check Your Health Insurance: Review your health insurance policy to understand your coverage. Be aware of copayments, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums to budget effectively for medical expenses. You’ll want to be familiar with this before you’re sick.
Utilize Sick Leave and Paid Time Off: If you have sick leave or paid time off at work, use it. It can help offset the income you lose during sick days. It’s better to give yourself time to recover fully than to work through it.
Stay Hydrated and Rest: The best way to save money when you’re sick is to recover quickly. Rest, stay hydrated, and follow your doctor’s advice to speed up your recovery.
Ask for Generic Prescriptions: If your doctor prescribes medication, ask about generic alternatives, which are usually more affordable. GoodRX can also help you save if your insurance won’t cover the cost.
Plan Ahead for Emergencies: Consider setting up an emergency fund to cover unexpected medical expenses, so you’re not caught off guard when illness strikes.
Take Preventative Measures: Invest in a healthy lifestyle to reduce the frequency of illness. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and good hygiene can help keep you well and save money in the long run.
Of course, even the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry. If you do find yourself dealing with unexpected medical bills or income loss due to illness, don’t despair. There are many resources available to help you.
In conclusion, being sick can indeed lead to increased spending, but with careful planning and smart choices, you can mitigate the financial strain. Remember that your health is a valuable asset, and while saving money is essential, it’s equally important to prioritize your well-being. By following these tips, you can navigate the challenges of illness while keeping your finances in check.