Reducing out of Pocket Spend

reducing out of pocket spend

If you could do something for your health today that would cancel a hospital visit tomorrow, would you do it? Most likely, the answer is yes. The truth is, health issues become emergencies because we don’t take care of our bodies.. A common example is cigarette smoking. Despite overwhelming evidence and the warning on cigarette packaging, in the US 480,000 people die each year from smoking due to a range of complications including lung cancer. Taking the step to reduce or quit smoking can prevent these deaths. A lot of our health choices today can impact us tomorrow. Let’s look at some things you can do to improve your future health by taking care of yourself today. You can save your future self not only money, but you can gain a longer life and less hospital visits.

Being active, eating well, and not smoking are the biggest indicators for reducing the chances for future hospitalizations due to health emergencies and disease. When combined with regular checkups such as an annual physical from a primary care provider, the combination means not only having the knowledge to detect health issues early, but living a healthy lifestyle means a lower likelihood of ailments appearing and growing out of control. The best part is, being active and not smoking are free!

Being active doesn’t require a fitness membership. Walking, running, exercising at home, and other activities to boost the heart rate are all ways to maintain an active lifestyle. Being active improves heart health which means your heart can pump blood for effectively, greatly reducing the heart diseases like hypertension and heart failure.

Eating healthy and getting and keeping the weight off, are one of the most basic ways to improve health outcomes today and deter hospitalization costs. Poor eating habits combined with a lack of physical activity contribute to 400,000 deaths annually in the United States. Eating fruits and vegetables regularly and staying away from processed foods heavy in sugar are steps you can take in your diet. With the average American eating around 32 tablespoons of sugar a day, it can be difficult to find foods that do not have any added sugar in it, which is why staying away from sugary drinks (soda, sweet tea) and processed foods is so important. In addition, given how much sugar we eat in our foods, it’s possible to be addicted to sugar and not realize it. Not eating processed foods helps to reduce sugar addiction. Cutting back on these foods helps reduce the chance for developing diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. These conditions are often accompanied by repeat hospitalizations and possibly death.

Visiting with your primary care provider at least twice a year, is yet another way to reduce future medical costs and boost your body’s health in the present. A regular annual physical from your primary care provider is an opportunity to check your vitals and allows a medical professional to make sure your body is still in good care or provide recommendations to get your body to a healthier point. It’s also a chance to update your laboratory tests and get needed vaccines and shots. Yes, needles can be painful and scary, but vaccines can help prevent future ailments from attacking your body, including the flu. During the 2015-16 season, the CDC estimates that 310,000 people were hospitalized for flu-related illnesses. Being mindful of diseases that are preventable through vaccines is one more way to reduce future health emergencies by being mindful today.

By taking steps today to take care of your body, you will eliminate the likelihood of spending time in the hospital tomorrow. And your body, and wallet, will thank you.

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Micah Peterson

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