6 Proactive Steps You Can Take to Lower Your Healthcare Costs
The Healthcare Cost Problem and Its Solution
For decades, U.S. healthcare costs have been rising tremendously faster than inflation. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, per capita spending on healthcare in the United States surpassed $10,000 per year in 2016. This trend shows no signs of stopping. Something needs to be done to rein in this upward spiral of managed care costs.
Given the constraints of the current reality, though, what can you practically do to survive and to properly care for yourself and your family? First, you can promote transparency and efficiency in the healthcare market by shopping around and comparing price and value among various healthcare providers. Second, you can take charge of your own healthcare decisions, including both remedial and preventative care.
The Costs of Poor Health Choices
Doctors and other medical professionals save countless lives and help improve the quality of life for many others. For the most part, however, doctors are concerned with treating the symptoms of disease after they arise. The multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry also exists to address already-existing health problems. Healthcare costs in the United States continue to soar.
How many diseases and health problems could be prevented if everyone made healthy living one of their top priorities? Addressing chronic health and lifestyle issues can go a long way towards reducing healthcare costs. The familiar adage that time equals money can be extended to healthcare: A little time spent on proper sleep, diet, exercise, and recreation habits may go a long way towards both increasing your productivity at work and reducing your risk of requiring large medical expenditures.
evertheless, a majority of Americans continue to consume unhealthy diets and practice unhealthy lifestyle habits, which contribute to their health risks and ultimately their needs for expensive medical treatments. Perhaps taking more of a proactive stance — with a focus on preventative care and healthy habits — is the most promising way to lower healthcare costs until the market becomes truly transparent.
6 Steps You Can Take to Lower Your Risks
- Eat whole foods. Cooking fresh meals at home whenever possible instead of eating fast food or junk food may take more time but is almost certain to save you money on healthcare in the long-run. If you already eat out very often, you may save money in the short-term as well. Check out these tips for eating healthy while on a budget.
- Exercise. Regular aerobic exercise for 30 minutes per day several times per week has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. Gym memberships are available for as low as $30 per month, and there are plenty of ways to exercise without going to a gym. By contrast, a single doctor’s visit costs anywhere from $150 to $300 on average for a new patient.
- Sleep well. Set and try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule every day, with at least 7.5 hours (or five, roughly 90-minute cycles) of sleep per night. Reduce your exposure to artificial light, especially blue light, before bed. Sleep in a cool, dark, and comfortable environment. If you must use an alarm to wake up, consider learning about your circadian rhythms and timing your alarms to wake you when you’re in your lightest phase of sleep and least likely to be groggy.
- Lower stress levels. Although many people acknowledge the importance of diet and exercise to their health, it is all too easy to overlook the importance of lowering stress levels. The incessant demands of modern life drive many people to operate at a breakneck pace with chronically high stress levels which increase the risks of heart attacks and other health problems. Consider developing a stress-reduction plan and setting aside time every day for activities that lower your stress levels and help you feel more at peace.
- Care for your mental health. Improving your mental health can improve your immune system physically and lower your risks of other health conditions. If you need therapy or psychiatry, consider SAMI-Aid's Premium membership plan, which includes two therapy or psychiatry visits per month for just $79.99. You can also see therapists, psychiatrists, and primary care doctors for just $59.99 per visit without a SAMI-Aid Premium membership.
- Save money for emergencies. Saving money on traditional health care by using telehealth allows you to set aside more money for emergencies. We hope you never experience a health emergency, but saving at least $1000 in an emergency fund lowers your risk of being unprepared should an emergency arise. Instead of spending $200 per visit on traditional urgent care and primary care, you could be spending just $59.99 per visit with SAMI-Aid and putting the rest in a savings account.
Financial Incentives for Healthy Habits
Some employer-based health insurance plans offer deductible credits or even cash rewards to covered employees who take steps to proactively manage their health and reduce their risks of health problems. Even if you are uninsured or your plan does not offer these incentives, the personal benefits of feeling healthy, energized, and on track towards a long and healthy life with your loved ones are priceless. There is no better time to start than now. Join the "health revolution" and lower your health risks by signing up for a SAMI-Aid membership today!