15 | DON'T BE DENIED Your insurer refused your claim? Fight back. Begin with a phone call to customer service, and if that doesn't work, put your appeal in writing. Document everything, including the times of calls and the names of the reps you spoke with. "Every plan has an appeals process that you must follow to the letter," says Robert Bland of Insure.com, a consumer information website. For more information, download the Kaiser Family Foundation's guide to handling disputes with your employer or private health plan (kff.org).
16 | HIRE EXPERT HELP Buried under thousands of dollars in bills and claim denials you can't resolve? Consider hiring a professional billing and claims specialist to help you resolve disputes. You'll pay $50 to $250 an hour, but you may save up to 40% on your bills. To find specialists in your area, go to billadvocates.com and claims.org.
17 | CHECK YOURSELF OUT If you're in the market for a new policy and you've applied for individual health, life, disability or long-term-care insurance in the past seven years, go to MIB.com to see whether this insurance industry antifraud group has a file on you. Request a copy (it's free) to make sure the information provided about your health status is right. If you find a mistake, ask for a correction in writing ASAP. Errors can drive up your premiums by hundreds of dollars a year.
18 | CONSIDER AN HSA If you have a high-deductible health plan (at least $1,050 for individuals; $2,100 for families), you are eligible to fund a health savings account (HSA), which you can tap to pay medical expenses. You'll save about $1,500 in taxes for every $5,000 you put into an HSA. Any funds you don't use will grow tax-free and can be rolled over from year to year.