Financial Intelligence 101: Planning Your 2022 Healthcare Budget
For many of us, the brand-new new year is a fresh start, an opportunity to focus on the things that might have otherwise slipped between the cracks back in the previous one. However, while we’re all jotting down our resolutions and making big plans for the future, there is one thing that often tends to get overlooked: our budgets.
This isn’t just any old budget, either. Rather, it’s one that can have a far-reaching and lasting impact on your wellness. In short, it’s your healthcare budget. While trying to predict how your health may turn out in the next year can be tricky, that only serves to highlight the importance of drafting such a budget.
No, we don’t typically expect to have a major medical emergency or the need to undergo life-saving surgery. Nonetheless, by planning ahead and sneaking such contingencies into your budget, you can at least rest assured you have the funds to cover them should they possibly arise. With that in mind, here are four things you need to keep in mind when creating your 2022 healthcare budget.
For the most part, there are many things that can crop up as a recurring expense in our healthcare budgets. Routine care, for instance, is going to be fairly predictable. Furthermore, if you’re already undergoing treatment for an existing condition, you probably have already earmarked some funds to help pay for it.
This can also include prescription medications or even follow-up care for current procedures. If you can’t recall off the top of your head how much you spent on healthcare last year, no worries. All you need to do is dig out your old explanation of benefits (EOBs) the previous year and review them. It can help break down line-by-line how much you paid in 2021.
Trying to predict what new medical expenses you’ll have for 2022 can be a little bit difficult, as sometimes things can spring up without warning. Regardless, there are likely a few things you may have already thought about doing, such as getting a root canal for that aching tooth or maybe undergoing elective surgery for cosmetic or rehabilitative purposes.
Conversely, this may be the year that you decide to start a family. Of course, you’ll want to plan that into your general budget, as well. However, medical appointments (and even fertility treatments) can be costly, as can labor and delivery. By penciling these expenditures into your budget, though, you won’t have to worry about sticker shock when the bill eventually comes.
Many people are not fully aware of how insurance works. In turn, this can lead to unpleasant surprises when they find out that a certain procedure isn’t covered or that they have higher copays than expected. To help make sure you’re planning your 2022 healthcare budget carefully, you’ll want to be sure to sit down with your insurance plan’s booklet and go over it carefully to make sure you understand it.
Important questions to ask yourself during this review can include things like, “Will my dental insurance cover implants?” and “Does insurance cover therapy?” Remember, your mental health is also an incredibly important aspect of your overall general health, and you don’t want to neglect it, either. A whole-body approach is ideal for complete wellness.
Finally, you need to have a specific fund set aside for any emergencies that may occur in the upcoming year. Again, this could be one of those things that can completely blindside you. It can include anything from automobile accidents to one of your children unexpectedly breaking a bone. No, none of us like to think about something like this happening, but you should still be prepared for it.
After all, the last thing you want to encounter is a situation where you’re emotionally reeling from a crisis, only to turn around and have to go into extreme credit card debt to be able to cover these expenses. While there’s no real rule of thumb as to how much you should set aside for this, it can range from just a few hundred dollars up to several thousand.
If you’re not already a budgeter, there’s no time like the present to get started. You don’t even need fancy equipment to do it, either. A simple lined notebook is a great launching point, or you can use a specific budget planner book for this purpose. No matter what you decide to do, though, you’ll thank yourself for having the foresight to draft a 2022 healthcare budget – even if you do wind up staying under on it!