Healthcare can be expensive. This is something national governments around the world are tackling with, looking for different ways to keep their societies healthy and prosperous. But it’s also something individuals have to think about and everyone can play their part in stopping the rising healthcare costs.
We all have to think about our health almost daily. This is because the choices we make have consequences in the short- and long-term. What you eat, how you exercise and take care of your mind and body can have a huge impact on how much you have to pay for your own healthcare. Ultimately, your personal choices will also have a wider impact – both in terms of what it costs to get health insurance and how much it is to treat certain ailments.
The stark reality is that healthcare costs are rising. This is partly down to population change – we live longer and many countries are dealing with populations where older people are the majority and caring for them is difficult. Of course, we’re also battling many diseases and ailments that have appeared thanks to our lifestyles. We eat more processed foods, sleep less, avoid exercise and tend to be highly stressed in our daily lives.
The unfortunate truth is that the sicker we become, the more we have to pay for the care we and others receive. The good news is, however, that everyone can do something to keep the healthcare costs in check.
Live a healthier life
The obvious answer is to lead a healthier life. If you don’t need to use a lot of healthcare facilities, you naturally don’t have to pay a lot of money to look after yourself. While there are definitely plenty of illnesses and injuries that are wholly out of our control, many things can be deterred or eliminated simply by making healthier lifestyle choices.
The most obvious things you should be doing in order to stay healthy are:
- Keep your weight in check by following a healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly and safely.
- Stop smoking and avoid drinking alcohol or drink only moderately.
- Sleep at least 8 hours every night.
As well as focusing on your body, you should also pay attention to your mental health. It’s important to balance your work and personal lives, taking enough time off from work and doing things that make you happy.
Buy the right health insurance
As a healthcare consumer, your choices also matter and they can have a huge impact on healthcare costs. Your health insurance is one of the most important health decisions you’ll make and you want to take time to understand your options and to pick the right policy.
In order to keep the costs in check, you should always compare health insurance. You don’t want to just focus on the price but pay attention to the cost and quality of the policy. If consumers force insurance provider to compete, they will end up influencing the cost of those policies and ultimately challenging the whole industry to focus on affordable, quality care.
Aside from simply comparing health insurance, you should also favour high-deductible health insurance. This will cut your premiums while ensuring you are protected against the most devastating health concerns and problems. It will put some pressure on you to cover those day-to-day healthcare issues but by living a healthier lifestyle, that shouldn’t be a big problem. Also, shop around when you are buying prescription medicine. Whether you have insurance or not. All stores have their own prices for the same medication, which can significantly vary, so do your research. Also, check your insurance to see the different costs based on the type of visit. The cost of urgent care vs. emergency room can make a huge impact on your healthcare cost.
Check your health regularly
In terms of insurance costs, it’s also important to have regular health check-ups. In fact, many health insurance plans include regular doctor check-ups and it’s important to take advantage of these. By having your health checked regularly, you can stop disease from turning into something much bigger – you give yourself more time to focus and prevent problems from arising. Of course, this doesn’t mean running to the doctor every month. In fact, the younger you are, the less frequent your visits have to be. However, the main thing is to make it regular, whether it means visiting the doctor once a year or twice a year.
Document your healthcare wishes
Finally, it’s important to think about what you want from your healthcare, especially if the worst is to happen. Most people don’t like to think about permanent injury or even death but the truth is that anything can happen to any of us. It’s important to create a legal document that outlines the kind of medical interventions you want done in case you’re not able to speak for yourself. Don’t forget that you can always change your mind but you want to have a document ready for the worst-case scenarios.
Make your health your priority
Overall, we should all start taking our health and health-related decisions seriously. It’s not a topic to avoid and by tackling the different things surrounding it, we can all ensure that healthcare doesn’t end up costing us, or the society around us, a fortune.