As we grow older, so does our body’s fragility increase and its resilience against illness decline. In fact, medical costs will comprise the largest proportion of your expenditure in your retirement years.

The average individual who retired in 2017 can expect to spend nearly $300,000 on healthcare for the rest of their life. This cost starts low and steadily increases in subsequent sunset years. That said, astronomical medical costs are not a predetermined destiny. You can contain these costs by applying the following strategies.

Preventative Action

Explore the different ways through which you can lower the risk of disease by improving your overall health. Examine your current daily schedule and slot in time for exercise, good sleep, a balanced diet and relaxation. Many serious illnesses that emerge or worsen late in life can be traced to a stressful, unhealthy and inactive lifestyle in one’s earlier years.

In case you aren’t current on all key vaccines, get in touch with your doctor to find out how you can be immunized. This covers not just one-off vaccines but also annual ones such as flu, shingles and pneumonia shots.

Understand Your Financial Options

If you’ve signed up for Medicare, take time to read through and understand not just the benefits but the terms and conditions as well. See the specifics of what’s covered and consider if it will be necessary to switch during the annual election period. If any clause is unclear or you have a question that you don’t see addressed, make that phone call for clarification.

Pay particular attention to your prescription costs. Get to know the pharmacies on your network of choice and if they would be a better option for you compared to a mail-order service. During your research, you might even make the welcome discovery that your Medicare plan will care for certain services that won’t need you to chip in with an out-of-pocket expense.

Save Dental Costs

Medicare will not cover majority of dental procedures and dental care. The rationale is that poor dental care is ordinarily not something that can lead to a life-threatening condition. Removing a problem tooth and eventually picking up dentures can be done with little risk to a patient’s life.

Nevertheless, dental care is necessary for a happy and fruitful life. Since it’s not catered for by Medicare, you should take advantage of every opportunity to cut back on this cost.

For example, check out the dental schools in your area. If there’s a dental student resident or teaching practice, your savings could be quite substantial — as much as 50 percent lower than a similar service at a private practice. You’ll have to contend with a long queue but as long as the issue at hand isn’t an emergency, this should be a tolerable wait.

Regularly Review Your Medication

If you are on long-term medication, regularly have a conversation with your physician about the drugs you are currently taking. Perhaps you can be transitioned to a lower dose (which means spending less money) or maybe there’s a cheaper but equally effective alternative out there.

You may even find that there is the medication you could switch to that will be covered by your prescription plan. You’ll be surprised by the number of people who will stick to a type and dose of a drug for years even when there are opportunities to spend less.

Think Long-term

Do you have a fund or insurance policy that’s specifically meant to cater for your unexpected healthcare costs? If you don’t, it’s time to consider setting one up. When it comes to long-term medical costs, we are talking about more than just the money needed for procedures and prescriptions.

Think about the likelihood of requiring a home aide. The median cost of a home health aide is slightly over $4,000. If you are fortunate to have family that can help out, that’s certainly an advantage. But you don’t want to saddle them with problems you can manage on your own. They too have time and financial pressures of their own.

Maybe the family can help with transportation and shopping but you want to have the financial ability to hire someone to do all this for you just in case.

Medical costs are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States. By following these tips, you can reduce your risk of financial strain due to unsustainable medical expenses.