Like finances, healthcare can be in constant flux. We do know that most of us are dealing with higher out-of-pocket costs for healthcare than ever experienced. Many employers are shifting more healthcare costs to their employees through higher employee contributions to insurance premiums and/or policy options with higher deductibles, co-pays and cost-shares. According to a 2016 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average yearly deductible for single coverage health insurance is close to $1500; deductibles for family policies are often higher. The bottom line is that, with a few exceptions, the typical family pays a large amount of money for healthcare before their insurance kicks in. Even after meeting the deductible, out-of-pocket expenses may continue in the form of co-payments and cost shares (a percentage that your insurance doesn’t pay). Finally, many people want or need medical services that insurance doesn’t cover at all and for which they pay the full costs.
Investing in your health starts with a plan. Set aside enough money to cover your health insurance deductible, projected copayments, and expenses you know your insurance won’t cover. It is also nice to, put a little aside for the unexpected. DO NOT avoid or delay medical care because you haven’t set aside money for your out-of-pocket expenses - the risks are too great. We know when we are sick or injured to seek medical care. You can feel pretty secure if you’ve set aside money for the unexpected health costs and know your insurance will cover extensive care such as surgery or hospitalization.
My “hot” tip is take some of that money and invest it in you! Your lifestyle has greater long-term impact on your health than any medical care I could provide. These include managing your diet, physical activity, sleep, stress, and social relationships. It costs most people very little to learn about and implement healthy lifestyle behaviors. In fact, for a about the cost of a single doctor’s visit, you can get most, if not all, the professional guidance you need to be on the path to a long and active life.
Preventing diseases and injuries through lifestyle changes cost pennies compared to the expense of treating those diseases. For example, a person with high blood pressure might be able to save hundreds of dollars in copays for medications and doctor visits if they would invest a couple hundred dollars in nutrition and exercise counseling to control their condition. For those who need help setting and reaching healthy lifestyle goals, I recommend investing in health coaching sessions. This healthcare expense will bring them huge returns and not only add years to their life, but it will be healthy years.
Of course, take full advantage of what your health insurance offers. See your primary care provider for your annual exam. This preventive visit is to ensure you stay health. Get all recommended vaccinations. Both are fully covered by all insurance plans – don’t toss that money away because you are feeling well.
If you want professional help achieving a healthier lifestyle or your doctor recommends you get additional help to improve your diet, lose weight, or get more exercise come see us. Our team of experts will give you the best professional guidance available. We are confident you can enjoy “The first wealth…” Ralph Waldo Emerson speaks of. Happy New Year!