there are certain factors regarding your health that you cannot control, such as age
and family history, there are things you can change for the better to impact
what you pay for healthcare. The National Association of Insurance
Commissioners (NAIC) offers these suggestions to help you stay healthier and
potentially reduce your expenses.
Do you smoke or live
with a smoker?
The simple answer: Quit
or help them quit.
A number of insurers
offer discounts to non-smoking plan members. Be sure to ask about these
Children who share a
home with a smoker are more likely to suffer from asthma and other respiratory
illnesses, resulting in more trips to the doctor, expensive specialists and/or
the ER. Adults who smoke are damaging every organ system and will have more
healthcare bills in the long run than non-smokers.
Know and Control your
There are five numbers
you need to know and manage when it comes to your health: blood pressure;
cholesterol (LDL and HDL); blood sugar; and body mass index (BMI). If these
numbers are outside the normal range, you are at increased risk for heart
disease, stroke and diabetes. Know your numbers, and if they are abnormal, work
to improve your long-term health by getting them under control.
Regardless of your age
or fitness level, studies show that exercise improves both your physical and
mental health. While going to the gym is great, you can benefit from simply
being more active throughout the day. However, before you start a new exercise
routine, be sure to check with your doctor and come up with a plan that works
Organize Your Medical
results, prescriptions and other medical information in one place will not only
help you make better decisions about your care, it will assist doctors and
loved ones in case you are unable to advocate for yourself during a medical
Lack of relevant health
information can make the cost of care more expensive. Centralized medical
information can lead to fewer medical mistakes when those involved with your
care have your latest health information.
Below is a list of basic
information to keep in your health file:
- A list of your doctors’ names and their contact
information. This will make it easier for your doctors to coordinate with
each other if necessary.
- Copies of your health insurance cards, Medicare cards
and phone number(s) to verify coverage.
- A list of emergency contacts, along with your
relationship to each person and their contact information, so that loved
ones or healthcare professionals will know who to contact in the event of
a medical emergency.
- A list of your medications, including dosages,
frequency, date started and reason for taking. This will help medical
staff avoid adverse interactions.
- A list of all surgeries or major medical events and
recent test results.
- Copies of your healthcare proxy, advance directives
and/or living will. If you don’t have these already, now is the time to
fill them out.
- A health history of diseases that run in your family.
Navigating health care
can be daunting, but it’s important to take the steps you can to control healthcare costs. Little steps can lead to big improvements in your overall
health. Make your health a priority, know your numbers and take time to
organize your medical information today.