One of the biggest expenses we face in life is health care. It’s also one of the most unpredictable; we can never be sure day by day what new costs may come our way, or how we would pay for them. This creates a lot of anxiety and can leave us unsure of how to prepare or plan for our own health care costs.

While you can’t avoid all the surprises of medical costs, you can do quite a bit to manage the things you already know about. If you have some type of chronic condition, don’t just assume that your current costs are a given. There are some steps you can take to lower that expense and give yourself some flexibility in your finances.

Strike a Balance

Probably the most important thing you can do is to make sure that any interventions, medications, and treatments you use for your condition are actually necessary. Talk with your doctor about dosages, therapies, and other things he or she has ordered for you. You may be able to use some of them only as needed, rather than daily.

Think also about the equipment you use, and don’t assume that you need the most extreme intervention. If you have some minor mobility problems, a portable electric wheelchair will be more practical and affordable for you than the traditional heavy, bulky power chairs or other devices, while still providing the assistance you need to remain active and involved in things you enjoy doing.

Shop Around

Not only should you not assume that you need everything that’s been ordered for you, you also shouldn’t assume that you have to buy where you’re told you can buy it. Doctors don’t have time to comparison shop for you; they’ll send you to the provider they’re most familiar with. You may be able to get a better price elsewhere.

Even your health care itself may cheaper elsewhere. Many people are finding that therapeutic care in other countries can be significantly less expensive, even when you count the travel costs. As an added bonus, you’re actually getting a nice vacation tied in with it, and a vacation is always good for your health. Be sure you can’t get a better deal overseas before you commit domestically.

Watch Your Health

Finally, the best thing you can do is not to assume that your condition is unavoidable. While things like spinal injuries and multiple sclerosis remain incurable, there are many chronic conditions that can have a reduced impact on us if we do things correctly. Diligently following the advice of your doctor can dramatically improve your situation.

Diabetes is a good example of a highly manageable condition. Eating right, exercising appropriately, monitoring blood glucose, and staying on top of medication can go a long way toward keeping the disease at bay for many years. Asthma can be helped by avoiding allergens and exertion, as well as by properly using all prescribed medications.

Our health is very important, so we always make it a financial priority. But sometimes the demands of our conditions are such that we are unable to manage the costs and still live an enjoyable, comfortable life. With a good strategy for researching your options and persistence in getting your plan put in place, you can take a lot of the financial sting out of even the most costly medical conditions, helping you remain financially healthy in your quest to remain physically healthy.