|Maximixe your HSA e-Newsletter
|Vol. 19, Issue 1
The Best Way to Lower Your Medical Bills – Get Healthy!
A lot of ink gets spilled over the best approaches to health insurance and healthsharing. And those are vitally important. But the single best and most reliable way to keep your medical costs affordable over the long term is also the simplest: Stay healthy.
Yes, injuries happen. And some illnesses are unavoidable, too. Luck plays a big role. But the data is clear, and the numbers are huge:
- Obese individuals between ages 18 and 65 incur overall medical spending that is 37 percent higher, on average, than that for normal-weight individuals.
- Inadequate physical activity accounts for $117 billion in preventable health care costs each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
- Every 1 percent reduction in weight, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol saves $83 to $103 in annual health care costs per person.
- The average medical claims cost for obese workers is $51,019, versus $7,503 for non-obese workers.
- Diabetes is very common, and very expensive: lifetime direct medical costs of treating type 2 diabetes and its complications in the working population (aged 25-64) ranged from $124,700 for men in the youngest group (aged 25-44 years) to $84,000 in men aged 55-64. The lifetime costs for women ranged from $130,800 in the age group 25-44 to $85,200 in the age group 55-64.
But you can significantly improve your health – and reduce your probable medical expenditures over your lifetime by taking action now to improve your overall health.
For example, people with prediabetes can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 57 percent by participating in a National DPP lifestyle change program (National DPP).
Not only will you probably save money in health insurance premiums, deductibles, and other direct costs of poor health; You’ll also be more productive, and miss fewer days off work.
Here are some proven ways to reduce your lifetime health expenses.
- Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit. Your employer may have an EAP program that will direct you to some resources that will help you.
- Drop some weight. Even a modest improvement is good! According to the CDC, just a 10% weight reduction reduces lifetime out-of-pocket medical costs by $2200 to $5300.
- Get off the couch. For adults, the optimal amount of physical activity (walking, jogging, swimming, yard work, weight lifting, etc) is about 150 minutes per week, according to the U.S. Department of Health.
But don’t be discouraged or intimidated! Even small improvements can have a beneficial effect! For example, a Minnesota health plan found that for their members 40 years of age and older, each additional “active” day per week was associated with a 4.7% decrease in health care costs. Five days of activity represents about a 23.5% cost reduction compared with no days of physical activity.
The top things to focus on are these:
Quit smoking, if you smoke.
Improve your eating habits. More people get more real health improvements in the kitchen than in the gym. And any competitive bodybuilder will tell you the same thing.
Don’t worry so much about calories. Focus on macronutrients, avoid “bad carbs,” and eat a healthy mix of protein, ‘good carbs,’ and a modest amount of healthy fats. And control your portions!
Reduce stress. Stress is a killer. That’s why I started a 15-minute meditation to start every day. It’s done wonders for my stress levels, as my family will attest!
Speaking of family, make some time each week for family and friends. Not only are there beneficial health and stress reduction effects, but they’re a big part of what makes life worth living!
New Year, New Us!
So by all means… make that New Years’ resolution to get in better shape. And stick with it, so your new habits become a complete lifestyle change! You can do this!
Let’s make a commitment together to be more active, healthy, and fit next New Year’s Day than we are now!
Note: Moderate physical activity is safe for most people. If you have a chronic health condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis, or an orthopedic injury, you should consult with your doctor before engaging in a vigorous exercise program.
Any questions or concerns? Want to explore some ways to save some money, reduce your risks, or improve your healthcare coverage via healthsharing?
Are you an employer looking to manage your healthcare benefits expenditures? We’d love to hear from you! Contact your Personal Benefits Manager today! Or if you don’t have one yet, click here to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our highly-experienced experts!
On behalf of all of us at HSA for America, I wish you a very blessed holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!
Click here to schedule an appointment, or call 800-913-0172 to get started.
To your health and wealth,
Wiley P. Long, III
President - HSA for America
The HSA for America Maximize Your HSA Newsletter is published monthly and emailed to subscribers at no charge. Subscribe now to stay on top of the critical information you need to know about health insurance, healthshare plans and managing your finances to achieve financial security.
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