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By Melissa Green | Citizens Bank Staff
Cold and flu season doesn’t just threaten your health — it can also weaken your wallet. That’s because most people don’t plan on getting sick, so when they do, the associated costs probably were not built into their budget. In essence, some people simply cannot afford to get sick.
Below are a few facts about getting sick that you may not have considered.
Getting sick adds up! And it’s not just for treatment — being sick can affect your job performance while people who get paid hourly, by commission, or rely on tips are especially vulnerable.
Do yourself a favor by taking a common-sense approach to cold and flu prevention. You don't have to be a germaphobe, but doing things like washing your hands (for a full 20 seconds) — and using hand sanitizers when you can't — lay a solid first line of defense against getting sick.
Even if you take all of the necessary precautions, illness can still find you. Here are a few ways to help get you through flu season on a budget.
Buying generic medication brands can save you. Remember, that the effective ingredients are what matters — not the brand name. Brand-name medications are generally more expensive so don't hesitate to try the store-brand of an antihistamine or decongestant. If you're not sure whether there are generic substitutes for a name-brand drug, check with a pharmacist.
A health savings account, also known as an HSA, is a tax-exempt savings account that, when paired with a qualified high-deductible health plan (QHDHP), can be used to pay for certain medical expenses. Funds deposited are not taxed, nor are withdrawals for qualified expenses.
If your health insurance doesn’t offer an HSA you can also enroll in one at many financial institutions.
No one likes being sick; preventive care could cost you a lot less money and physical discomfort. For example, the average cost of a flu shot is $35 and it is covered by most insurance plans. Flu shots are available through your doctor’s office and are also offered at minute-clinics and sometimes at local pharmacies.
Being sick can be an added burden or stressor on your daily life. Do your best to stay healthy and plan ahead. Everyone eventually gets sick, but not everyone is prepared to deal with it.
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