As you probably know all to well, the cost of healthcare and health insurance premiums continue to increase at levels substantially above the general inflation rate. The reasons given for these extraordinary cost increases are numerous and include: technological advancements in the medical field, increased demand for medical services and prescription drugs, the aging of the population, cost shifting caused by the uninsured and governmental reimbursement rates, state and federal mandates, and costs associated with medical related lawsuits.
As individual consumers, we have very little control over some of the factors contributing to the cost of healthcare. However, all of us 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 annual physicals and other recommended routine care, limiting alcohol consumption, and eliminating the use of tobacco products will no doubt reduce our personal healthcare costs. In addition to reducing medical costs, the other benefits of following such a formula include more energy, self confidence, less stress, and increased productivity. If you are not doing so already, I encourage you to consider 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 that will offset 25% of the annual cost of a health club membership. Simple things such as taking a walk, bike ride, or going swimming promote both a healthy body and mind. If you have a sweet tooth, consider limiting yourself to eating desert once a week. You will enjoy it more and your body will thank you.
Health insurance premiums will continue to increase as long as the cost of healthcare continues to go up. The best way to reduce the overall cost of healthcare is to decrease our need for healthcare. Healthy lifestyle choices and prudent use of the healthcare system are the best and easiest ways to get a handle on our healthcare expenditures. Perhaps the greatest benefit of a healthy lifestyle is our ability to enjoy our precious time here on earth to the fullest.
Michael Ertel is the President of Ertel & Company, Inc. and has over 15 years of experience in the health insurance business. He is the founder of MedicalInsuranceNow.com which is an internet based service that assists individuals, families, and small business owners by providing side by side comparisons of health insurance alternatives and the convenience of applying for health coverage online.