Health is wealth, goes the old adage. But with a sedentary lifestyle and hectic work schedules health has turned out to be a key concern like never before. Although the reasons for the deterioration in the overall health standard may vary, the soaring medical costs make it necessary to have a health insurance for people of all age groups. But health insurance doesn’t come for free. There is a cost attached to it. People with healthier medical records are charged less than their unhealthy counterparts.
Here is the catch. Nowadays, health insurance companies offer rewards in order to recognize the efforts that people put in to maintain their health. So, healthy individuals can significantly reduce their health insurance costs.
Healthier the Lifestyle the More You can Save on Health Insurance Costs
Limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, regular exercising and losing weight are some well-known factors that improve your overall health and also help to extend your life. Many health insurance companies provide incentives and discounts to encourage people to follow a healthy lifestyle. Whether you have health insurance coverage or not, getting rid of your bad habits and poor lifestyle can help you save on your total healthcare expenses.
Health insurance companies take into account a number of factors while determining health insurance costs, which include your personal risk factors as well. Well, bad news for smokers as they are vulnerable to expensive and debilitating illnesses such as kidney disease or lung cancer, they are charged a higher health insurance premium. Obese people are likely to develop diseases, like osteoarthritis and diabetes. And people who consume too much alcohol are at a higher risk of developing liver cirrhosis and cancers of the throat. People who are fit are likely to be charged a significantly lower premium.
Another way of saving health insurance costs is by comparing different health plans online. There are various health insurance comparison portals like Policybazaar health insurance in India, Comparethemarket in UK and Yallacompare in UAE etc. that help in comparing different options as per your requirements. Get customized health insurance cover and save yourself from paying an extra premium cost.
Medical history is vital in determining the cost of a health insurance policy. Almost all the health insurers make pre-medical screening essential (after a certain age) before issuing a policy.
But there are some insurers who do not require pre-medical check-ups but charge the premium on the basis of your current medical conditions, such as your family’s medical background and any lifestyle-related health risks. And for the same reason, smokers are charged a higher price.
Your health insurer will also price your health insurance policy on the basis of your age. The cost varies on the basis of the age of the applicant. Basically, someone in their 20’s or 30’s will be charged less in comparison to someone who is above 50 years of age. Makes sense right! So, if you want to save your healthcare costs, you know what to do. You need to buy a health insurance policy at a young age, probably in your 20’s.
Similarly, elderly people are also charged more as they are more vulnerable life-threatening diseases like cancer, cardiovascular issues, kidney problems, etc. And they are more likely to file a claim as compared to someone who is in their late 20’s.
Employers are paying more for health care costs than they used to. In a hope to curb those costs, they are now motivating their employees to adopt healthier habits and penalize them for bad habits. They are offering discounts to smokers for completing a quit-smoking program and may hit up an extra premium fee for smokers. They also offer discounts on medical check-ups to their employees. More and more employers are now offering discounted or free gym memberships. Some may reimburse the gym fees and even offer rewards to employees such as fit bits, etc., for employees who meet their fitness goals.
How Can You Reduce Health Care Costs with a Healthy Diet & Exercise
By following a healthy diet, you can significantly reduce your health insurance premium and overall health care costs. Let’s see how:
Better Cardiovascular Health
Both diet and exercise can positively improve your cardiovascular health. A high-calorie diet can increase chances of heart attacks, increase cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. A regular workout can significantly lower your blood pressure and improve your heart’s health, cholesterol and blood pressure over time. Regular exercise can also help people with chronic heart problems.
So, how it works?
With regular and moderate exercising and physical activity, your heart muscles get strengthened. Your heart pumps more blood into the lungs and your entire body. Basically, it increases the oxygen levels in your blood.
As per the studies, regular physical exercise is known to improve the symptoms of atrial fibrillation in patients. Improved heart health would mean lesser expense on cardiologist visits, regular heart checkups and medications.
Reduced Risk of Chronic Illnesses
Nearly 1 of every 5 children and 1 out of every 3 adults are affected with obesity. Obesity puts people at a higher risk of chronic illness like heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer. As per the CDC reports, the expenditure alone on obesity is close to USD 147 billion every year.
Obesity makes you prone to diabetes and often requires regular medication, massive diet changes, and regular checkups. It puts you at a higher risk of other expensive health conditions.
Thus, a healthy diet and regular exercise can significantly decrease your overall health care costs. Certainly, you can avoid being a part of the group who pays an exorbitant amount on health care.
A diet rich in sodium and fat increases the risk of cancer. Your ideal diet should include whole grains, vegetables if you really want to lower the risk of cancer. Surprisingly, regular exercising wards off the risk of certain cancers, such as endometrial cancers, and lung cancer. It also reduces the chances of ovarian cancer and PCOD.
Clearly, you can reduce your risk of cancer by taking care of your diet. You are what you eat after all. By reducing the risk you can save yourself from exorbitant medical costs and diagnostic procedures, chemotherapy, prescription drugs, dialysis, regular hospital visits, surgery, and palliative care.
Last but not least, regular exercise improves your sleeping disorders and also reduces the signs and symptoms of depression. By reducing your vulnerability to anxiety and related disorders, you save the expenses related to mental disorders including medication and therapies. Overall, you will be able to lead a more productive and content life.
Basically, you need to
- Get routine health check-ups done. It is easier to treat a health problem or curb certain health issued if diagnosed early. The right treatment at the right time helps you live longer. You can take preventive measures to protect yourself from catching a disease. For instance, if your cholesterol levels are on the margin, you know what you need to do to get it back to normal. There are some health insurance plans that offer free annual-checkup facilities.
- If you are pregnant you must take pre-natal care to ensure a smooth and safe delivery. Buy a health insurance plan that offers maternity cover to save the delivery expenses.
- Use discounts and offers that your health insurer offers such as wellness programs, gym membership, etc.
- Plan ahead for a medical emergency. In case of an injury or illness, you need to assess the gravity of the situation and how soon to get the treatment. Based on that you can choose to take your health insurer’s help, wait for the cashless hospitalization approval, get emergency care or go to an urgent care clinic.
In a Nutshell
Statistics indicate that maintaining a good health record makes a significant difference in your overall healthcare expenses. Health insurance is one step in this regard. But on the other hand, you also need to follow a health regime to ward off the various health risks and increase the longevity of life.