Economists estimate that each American pays roughly $8,300 in health care costs a year [source: Reinhardt]. That's a nice chunk of change for each member of your family, and without much end in sight to rising insurance premiums. Luckily, there are a few options for you to save a bit of family cash when it comes to health care.
First of all, be savvy about shopping for a program. If you are buying insurance (or your employer offers different options), don't just assume the cheapest monthly program will save you the most money. Take the time to assess what healthcare visits and prescription drugs you'll reasonably be able to predict within the next year, and then -- taking your children's interest in climbing trees into account -- add an emergency or two into the mix. You might find that a plan with a higher monthly premium but lower co-pays for office visits and prescriptions might be best.
Also remember that many drugstores offer free or reduced medical care for the whole family. The never-ending school vaccinations for the kids might actually be something you can get at a much cheaper overall price at a pharmacists office than by visiting your doctor and paying your deductible. And don't think that those free or discounted flu shots are just for the kids: remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when your pound of cure involves co-pays, expensive drugs, and a whole lotta sick time from work.
Remember that an apple a day will also keep the doctor away, so how about growing your own? Read on for more money-saving tips that also improve your family's diet.