As you all know very well, the cost of health and health insurance premiums continues to increase at levels well above the general inflation rate. The reasons for these extraordinary cost increases are many and include: technological advances in medicine, demand for medical services and prescription drugs, aging of the population, cost shifts caused by uninsured and state reimbursement rates, state and federal mandates, and costs associated with medical litigation.
As individual consumers, we have little control over some of the factors that contribute to the cost of healthcare. However, we all have control over lifestyle-related health insurance claims. A simple formula of eating a balanced diet, getting the appropriate amount of daily exercise, participating in other recommended routine care, limiting alcohol consumption and eliminating tobacco use will undoubtedly reduce our personal health costs. Besides reducing medical costs, other benefits of following such a formula include more energy, self-confidence, less stress and increased productivity. If you aren’t already, I recommend considering practical ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for you and your family. For example, one of the individual health insurance companies my organization works with has an option to cover 25% of the annual cost of a health club membership. Simple things like walking, cycling or swimming provide both a healthy body and mind. If you’re craving dessert, consider limiting yourself to one desert meal per week. You will enjoy it more and your body will thank you.
Health insurance premiums will continue to rise as the cost of health care continues to rise. The best way to reduce the total cost of healthcare is to reduce our need for healthcare. Healthy lifestyle choices and prudent use of the healthcare system are the best and easiest ways to control our healthcare expenditures. Perhaps the greatest benefit of a healthy lifestyle is our ability to enjoy our precious time on earth to the fullest.