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High Medical Costs Making You Sick?

The price of staying healthy is going up and so is your blood pressure. Since 2000, medical costs have grown by more than 35 percent while individual annual earnings have only increased by a little more than 12 percent. Your bank account is under the weather and the rise of health care is making you sick ? don't be that guy. There's No need to dial 911, just follow these moneysaving tips and help your wallet go from sick to well.

Weighty issues

The average obese person versus someone of healthy weight pays approximately $900 a year in additional medical costs. Here's how you can lose weight and fatten your wallet: 

  • Substitute a diet soda or any other zero-calorie drink for your old soft drinks and lose up to 14.5 lbs a year.
  • Switch from deep-dish cheese pizza to thin crust (two slices a week) can save 2.5 lbs a year.
  • Ditching mayonnaise on sandwiches (three per week) and instead use mustard can save you 4 lbs per year.Sources: Money, Esquire

No if ands, or butts

  • If a 40-year-old smoker who burns through a pack a day can quit and put those savings into a 401(k) earning 9 percent a year, he will have $250,000 by age 70.
  • If you are smoking a pack-a-day, you're spending about $30 a week on cigarettes, that's nearly $1,600 a year.
  • And on average, a smoker pays $1,600 a year more than a non-smoker on health care costs alone.

But wait there's more, car dealers will take off more than $1,000 in trade-ins on vehicles whose drivers have smoked in them.Sources: Money, MSN Money

Rx for saving

  • In 2004, the average price of a brand-name prescription drug was $96, while the average cost of the generic form was only $28.
  • Ask your doctor about generic brands. They can cost 30 percent to 80 percent less and have the exact same ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor if paying for prescription drugs is a problem.Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Hospital headaches

  • Hospitals overcharge consumers an estimated $10 billion a year.
  • Look at your hospital bill carefully and make sure all the charges are justified.Make sure the number of days spent in the hospital is correct, as well as the time spent in the operating room.
  • Ensure that you haven't been charged twice for anything. 
  • If your hospitalization isn?t for an emergency, check and see if at least some of the bill is covered under your insurance policy.Sources: MSN Money