My insurance premiums, medication costs and hospital bills keep going up every year. Is there anything I can do to gain some control over this situation?
In 2014, health care spending per person in the U.S. reached $9,523, accounting for more than 17 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (CMS.gov).
As patients, our best hope is to start thinking about and planning for our future health much in the same we plan for our financial future.
There are several questions we can ask ourselves: What is the current state of our health? What assets do we have? Are we in good shape physically? Do we have a healthy diet? Do we have good social support and/or a loving family? What are our liabilities? Are we overweight? Do we have any conditions right now that we might be able to get rid of by changing our habits or lifestyle? Are we engaging in any destructive behaviors that might impact our health down the line? Are we getting adequate sleep? Are we living a mindful life?
These questions can be answered with the help of our family physician or other primary care provider who knows us well. Once we have determined the current state of our health, we can set up a plan to improve and maintain our health. It may be a slow process, but improving one’s health is always doable. Our bodies have a tremendous ability to remodel and regain function despite how we may have treated them in the past. A good health plan will help make sure that 10 or 15 years from now – whenever we plan on retiring – we are in the best health possible and able to enjoy that time to the fullest.
We have all heard the story of the person who finally retires only to drop dead of a heart attack, or the person who is so disabled that they cannot do any of the things they waited their whole lives to enjoy. We have the ability to take steps now to ensure a healthier tomorrow. Taking those steps will also permit us to save money down the road by minimizing our use of expensive medications, tests and hospitalizations that are needed when we have chronic illnesses.
Good health is our best defense against rising health care costs and is something over which we have some control. We all owe it to ourselves to try our best to attain it.
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