Good health can keep your wallet healthy too.
It’s important to be healthy. Why not invest in preventative health and save money down the line? Here are some ways to manage your health and save money at the same time.
Mental health is your first priority. During the days of the lockdown, suicides were on the increase. Even in a non-pandemic year there are over 100 suicides per day in the United States. The inability to properly process the daily stress of home and work life can lead to minor symptoms such as insomnia, backaches, headaches, and appetite loss. They can also lead to more serious depression and addiction as a coping mechanism. In the situation of long-term stress, prolonged exposure to stress hormones like cortisol can increase your blood pressure and cause serious damage to your heart. Manage your health by learning relaxation techniques to keep your stress levels low.
Find the best specialty doctors. A good urologist or obgyn will help you with your reproductive health decisions. But the best obgyn will help you through all phases of your life. They’ll help you with family planning, fertility, managing your hormones, menopause, and cancer screenings. Preventive medicine to manage your health is also cost-effective. Time and time again experts tell us catching any condition early enough can give us the best treatment and prognosis rather than waiting until it’s too late. Pap smears, mammograms, and annual visits can help detect life-threatening diseases. The average cost of breast cancer radiation is about $9000, a lumpectomy is about the same, while a partial mastectomy is about $10,000.
Other specialty doctors, like dentists, are worth the twice-yearly visit to manage your health, as they can detect more serious conditions like heart disease and oral cancer. Also, eye doctors can help detect conditions like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. If you want to save on prescription eyeglasses (a pair of new frames and lenses can run you almost $400), get your prescription from your eye doctor and then shop around if you need new eyeglasses. Large stores like Walmart or Costco or online sites like FramesDirect.com GlassesUSA.com can offer deep discounts (under $100) for eyeglass frames.
Heart disease. According to the CDC, heart disease costs about $200 billion every year—that includes medical services, surgery, drugs, and loss of workdays. Even worse, heart attack and stroke kill over 25% of women over the age of 65 and almost 20% of men over the age of 65. Exercise, diet and stress management go a long way in preventing this health (and economic) catastrophe.
Kids aren’t cheap. You’ll need to manage your health and theirs. On average, you’re likely to spend over $12,000 annually on one child. As a parent, you’ll be feeding them, clothing them, getting them back and forth to school. You’ll support them through their activities and sports. You’ll provide for their health, well visits, vaccinations, and any ER visits or sicknesses. To manage their healthcare costs, keep kids active and nourished. Look for pediatricians with wisdom and common sense. Many states cover vaccines for free or offer low-cost insurance coverage for your child’s well-visits. As kids grow up, they get more expensive. There’s the expense of college (gulp) tuition. But you can invest in 529 programs that allow you (and them) to save for college expenses. As for car insurance, any child with a decent GPA can apply for a discount. Regardless of age, your kids are going to make the twice-annual visits to the dental offices. And what if your child needs a retainer or braces. What parent wants to miss out on their child’s beautiful smile? Crooked teeth and better jaw alignment can be addressed by orthodontic specialists.
Fight disease everywhere. All sorts of illnesses can crop up in your workplace, house, and backyard. Even in your pool. You can get skin, ear, respiratory, eye infections from bacteria that occur naturally in water. Unfortunately, pool water, with all the added chemicals, isn’t completely immune from higher levels of bacteria.
The number one disease you can get from pool water is diarrhea caused by the bacteria, Giardia. There’s also a chance that you can develop eye infections like pink eye. Now we all know that pool water makes your eyes red, but pink eye causes red eyes and discharge that collects at the corner of the eye. Just looking at your eyes in the mirror is not how to test for pink eye. The surefire way is to use a bacteria culture test. And you have to go to a doctor to get one.
To keep bacteria levels in check, public and private pools, along with Jacuzzis and spas need to be vacuumed and cleaned regularly. You can choose specialized strainers and vacuums with features suited for your pool. You can also reach out to professional pool cleaners who can develop a schedule for cleaning or programmed cleaning cycles. Spending a little extra to get your pool professionally cleaned can save on medical bills. Professional pool cleaners are trained to get the chemical combinations right, keep drains unclogged and filters and pumps running at their best. Professional pool cleaners can also winterize your pool if you live in an area that is not hot and sunny year-round.
Last but not least, the paperwork to manage your health. When you seek any kind of medical or dental service, be careful how you fill out the forms. Your state’s insurance department is on the lookout for healthcare fraud and abuse. It costs all taxpayers billions of dollars a year. There are ways that you can accidentally commit fraud. Say you and your partner have two different insurance policies, but if you’re double-covered, keep them separate. It’s illegal to file the same claim under two separate policies. Also, red flags can pop up with how you are billed for services that you either didn’t receive or didn’t request. So, make sure you review your medical bills carefully. Insurance companies will always ask you to question anything on your bill that doesn’t look correct. It’s also considered fraud if a spouse signs an insurance policy under the other’s name. Your state’s insurance department can still file fraud charges against you, even if your spouse asks you to sign on their behalf.
If you don’t have one, it might be a great idea to look into purchasing bbq grills. A grill is a wise investment for your health. Sure, it’s easy to get takeout. Who doesn’t love General Tso’s chicken? But grilling fruits and vegetables is a chef’s best-kept secret. Grilling gives vegetables flavor and brings out the sweetness. We all need to eat more fruits and vegetables, and this is an appealing way to serve them. Any way you can increase your family eating fruits and vegetables is a win-win. A healthy diet—one low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals–will help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and cancer. A lifestyle that is disease-free can help reduce your medical bills.
Mom and Dad
If you are a sandwich child, you have to take care of children, manage your health, and then manage your parents’ health. You may be forced to consider assisted living or nursing homes.
With the recent horror stories of nursing home facilities, you want to look into alternatives. If you want to take care of your mother or father and you must work full time, visiting nurses can provide home care for the homebound.
Once the doctor makes the referral for home health care services, a representative from the referred agency will call to make an appointment. Their initial visit will entail a health care worker coming to your home to talk to you about your parent’s needs. They’ll ask you questions about your parent’s health and what type of care needs to be provided. They’ll also talk to your parents’ doctor to keep them updated about your parents’ health status. These trained professionals can even check on your parent’s medications and track their progress. Keeping your parents healthy and on target with their medical care, can reduce their risk of hospitalization and lower their bills and your anxiety.
If your parent needs health care equipment supplies, they can be ordered online, then delivered to your door. Insurance may cover health care equipment such as braces, crutches, canes, walkers, specialized chairs, scooters, and other devices that can help your parents with their daily needs.
Gym Membership: Yes or No?
Being fit and healthy will save you money, but is a gym membership a cost-effective way to get and stay healthy? That all depends on you. Ask yourself these questions:
Can I afford a monthly membership? Note: the average membership ranges from $60-$100 per month. Does my insurance or workplace offer discounts on gym memberships? Can I devote the appropriate amount of time to get the most out of my membership? What kind of workout do I want out of my gym?
Maybe you just need a month or two at the gym to get your weight loss routine kick-started. Some gyms have a “pay-as-you-go” option. And it might be the best money you’ve spend on yourself. If you can carve out uninterrupted time to work out, then a gym membership is a good investment. If you are looking for a diverse offering of classes, such as power yoga, spinning, free weights, and machines—then a gym membership is a great option.
The latest technology available in exercise equipment is impressive. Many gyms have better quality equipment than any you could buy for your own home gym. If you want to manage your health and vary your workout a gym membership is just the ticket that can be worked into your budget. A gym membership can be viewed as a regular health appointment. In that respect, it becomes and health and wealth commitment.
Six Smaller Health Savings
Sometimes it’s the little things that can save you the most. Here are pint-sized tips to manage your health (and save some pennies):
Choose Insurance options wisely. Explore a Health Savings Account (HSA). An HSA takes money out of your paycheck or designated account and helps you save for medical expenses that some health insurance plans don’t cover.
Stay Social. Humans don’t handle isolation well. In some cases, solitary confinement is used as punishment. Walking with a friend or even zooming with relatives on a regular basis can fill that necessary human interaction. It beats medication for anxiety or depression.
Move. The old adage of move it or lose it is accurate. A physically active lifestyle–walking to appointments or to the store, cycling to work, frequent work breaks–can head off major health problems and expenses down the road.
Sleep. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 60, you’re going to need at least seven hours of sleep. A decent night sleep means uninterrupted REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. REM sleep is that deep sleep where your body is at its most relaxed state. People who don’t get enough sleep, actually get sick more often.
Learn. Studies indicate that when you engage in mental exercises your brain is rejuvenated. Crossword puzzles, word puzzles, Sudoku, brainteasers, or online games may delay the onset and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Buy from local farms. Community Supported Agriculture or CSA ensures that your food is often organic, local, fresh, and kinder to the environment. Often produce and fruit we purchase in the supermarkets arrive from different countries. The further the food has to travel, the more gas and energy needed to transport it. Other countries do not have the same environmental protections or pesticide usage criteria as in the U.S. In addition, local produce, when purchased in season, has been shown to retain more nutrients because it can ripen naturally. Broccoli purchased out of season had less vitamin C than broccoli bought in season.
An investment in your health is always a wise expense. When you manage your health, you become proactive in preventing many diseases and conditions that can cost you and your family cash you can ill afford.