25 Ways to Save Money on Healthcare

Take Preventative Measures

18. Watch Your Head

Make sure you and your kids wear helmets when you ride a bike, a scooter, or a skateboard, since most serious injuries are the result of falls.

19. Get in a Lather

Americans plunk down big bucks every year on cold remedies and flu treatments when the best preventive medicine is plain old soap and water. Teach everyone in the family to scrub their hands for about 20 seconds before eating, after playing outside, or after being in contact with someone who's already sick.

20. Prevent Tooth Traumas

Starting around their first birthday, kids should get twice-yearly checkups from the dentist, says Keith Morley, DMD, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Preventive care nips problems in the bud before they become more costly. You should also talk to your dentist about getting sealants for your child's molars. (Sealants are a liquid plastic material applied to your child's back teeth to prevent them from decaying.) Many insurance companies cover the cost, but even if they don't, get them anyway: They'll probably save you money in the long run.

21. Steer Clear of the ER

Never use the emergency room as a substitute for your regular doctor. You'll pay much more, and you'll probably wait longer to be seen, says Parents advisor Alice Domar, PhD. If your child feels lousy on a Friday morning, make an appointment with the doctor for that day so you don't end up in the ER over the weekend.

22. Save on Supplements

Don't spend your hard-earned money on vitamins, mineral supplements, and herbs since there's not enough data to support their effectiveness, says Dr. Domar. Most vitamins and supplements will pass right through you, which means money down the toilet -- literally! The notable exceptions: calcium and vitamin D supplements, which have been proven effective.

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