3 Ways to Cut Back on Health Care Costs

by Vincent King · 4 comments

Apple & stethoscope

It’s been three weeks and your cough is still hanging around, but you don’t want to go to the doctor.

How long will you suffer with that stuffy head while wishing you had health insurance?

How often do you avoid going to the doctor because you know you can’t afford it without coverage?

It’s terrifying to know that you must either continue to suffer or fall further into debt.

If you’re one of the nearly 50 million Americans (up from 49 million in 2009) living life without health insurance, then you’ve definitely felt the pain of ever-rising health care costs.

And, worst of all, things don’t seem to be getting better.

The costs of health care increase every year, and skyrocketing insurance rates aren’t the only problem. The costs of office, hospital and ER visits, plus prescriptions, lab work, and the other minutia of health care are all soaring.

With these increases comes concern.

A report in the American Journal of Medicine (2009) stated that more than 60% of all bankruptcies are caused by medical problems. Paying for expensive doctor and hospital bills can be devastating to a bottom line; the looming threat of bankruptcy is a harsh reality and can ruin even the best credit.

With that weight of debt pressing on you like a humid day in Georgia, it’s hard to bury that fear and move on with life.

Yet, there are a few things you can do to fight the rising costs of health care.

3 Ways to Cut Back on Health Care Costs

Quit Smoking

By now, you know the hazards that smoking poses to your health. The government suffers $167 billion dollars in tobacco-related productivity losses and health care costs each year. The number of years of life lost to smoking hovers around the 5.4 million mark.

Even if you don’t have insurance, your health care costs will skyrocket from poor health if you engage in this destructive habit.

Quitting smoking improves your health and the amount you can save in medical coverage and health care costs. (Not to mention money saved by not buying cigarettes!)

Change Your Residence

Where you live can effect how much you pay for healthcare. Moving isn’t always an option, especially if you can’t find work in an area that pays lower health insurance rates. Or, perhaps you love where you live, and you aren’t going to move just for more affordable coverage.

It’s an option to consider, however; many areas of the country enjoy a less painful health insurance premium each month, or lower out-of-pocket costs.

Eat Right & Exercise

Eating right is another way to save on health insurance. There are 35 diseases of almost-epidemic proportion caused by the foods we eat. Many companies are now offering their employees health incentives to eat right and exercise to reduce the costs of health care.

In today’s fast-paced society, it’s hard to eat right most of the time, but it’s important to try your best. The ideal diet for every body is different. Some swear by the Paleo Diet. Some by South Beach. Whatever your preference, whole foods that are cooked and prepared at home are by far the healthiest.

As for exercise, you have a myriad of options from going to yoga classes to running. Figure out which workout method makes the most sense for you, and keep at it.

Eating healthy and exercising does take time and effort, but it’s always worth it. When you blend these practices, your body and wallet will both come out as winners.

What ways have you found to cut back on healthcare costs? 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Smoking is a major health risk and I agree that cutting back would be a huge help. I live in the UK and when a smoking ban was introduce a few years ago heart attacks fell by 18% within a year and childhood asthama has fallen by 12%.

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Kate January 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I live in Canada and have socialist medicine but I still have a cough that persists. My doctor is a four hour round trip away, so I can go once a month on the one Saturday she has office hours. It’s no use saying “Change doctors” — 6 million Canadians have no family doctor. That is because the doctors are working in the USA where they are not slaves of the government…yet. So don’t act as if socialist medicine is going to cure all your ills. If you have a persistent cough, the doctor will probably tell you its a cold and to take Coriciden and drink liquids and rest. Your Mom can tell you that for free.

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prakash watwani January 25, 2013 at 3:21 am

Even if one does not know what yoga or exercise to pursue , simple walking, say for half an hour to 45 minutes, if not every day,but three to four days a week should help one stay fit and healthy enough and not fall prey to any need for medications. One may give excuse of harsh weather conditions in your part of world, but during such times when walk is not possible on account of extreme cold or unsuitable conditions outside, one can make use of treadmill machines at home, or still cheaper and affordable – just keep walking within four walls of home.

I have also observed that few other tips like strictly following hand-wash habit before taking meal, strictly ensuring to gorgle /mouth wash after meals and not taking water immediately after meals also go a long way in keeping one healthy and fit enough.I have tried it on myself that there should be some time gap, minimum 20 months., after meals and then only one should take water. This helps good digestion of meals and gives body good nourishment from whatever one eats and thus helps overall in staying fit and healthy.

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Ruth Cooke January 9, 2014 at 8:35 am

I covered this in today’s blog post, since it’s literally hitting me in the mouth right now: Brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist for regular check-ups.

@ Kate: If you often have a persistant cough and no other symptoms, ask your doctor to check for asthma. I suffered from the time I was sixteen onwards, but now that my asthma’s controlled, I’m much better off. And the over-use of sugared cough candies are what caused my tooth woes in the first place!

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