Health care has been a hot-button issue for as long as I can remember — even more so since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare). We can expect to see changes in the coming years addressing some of the issues with the bill.
Until then, it may be a smart idea to spend some time looking at how you can craft your own health-care plan to cover yourself and your assets in case you end up needing care.
What are Your Health-Care Options?
First, if you’re currently employed and your employer has a health-insurance policy for employees, definitely opt in. Your employer typically covers a pretty substantial percentage of your monthly policy because you’re part of a group.
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Group insurance policies offer more affordable rates to its members, which means that you’ll be paying a heck of a lot less than if you were to purchase your own health-care plan.
Not employed, but under the age of 26? Get on a parent’s health insurance stat. And don’t be lame — pay for the additional cost to your parents. Everyone comes out a winner.
Preventative Care Keeps Costs Low
For people who are trying to avoid expensive medical costs, focus on preventative care.
Don’t let your body fall apart because you didn’t go to the doctor.
Schedule your yearly visits to the doctor, and go to regular eye exams and dental cleanings. I’m often amazed by the sheer number of people who embrace bad health choices.
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You have options, no matter what your health-insurance situation is. Denver, for example, has the 9Health Fair, which happens every Spring. It's considered to be the largest health fair of this type in the nation.
The fair provides a significant number of health screenings for free, in addition to substantially discounted screenings that are typically cost-prohibitive.
This free resource allows both insured and uninsured Coloradans access to a variety of screenings that they might not even be aware of. I encourage you to check out your own town to see if there are any organizations that hold similar health-related events.
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Know Yourself (and Protect Yourself)
Depending on your age, you may opt for only “catastrophic” coverage. If this is your case, you may want to see if you can add a medical benefit to your current car insurance coverage. This option exists, but don't rely on it as primary health-care coverage.
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Be careful, because if you only opt for catastrophic coverage, you’ll be subject to very high deductibles. And if you don’t have money saved for a medical emergency (and those high deductibles), you may find yourself sick and broke.
Still trying to create your own health-care plan? Know your history. This is the second part of preventative care. If you’re aware of the fact that your family has a history of certain ailments, then focus on taking care of yourself in the hope that you don’t get the same illness. Or at least try to discover it sooner rather than later.
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You may also want to avoid sports that put you at a greater risk for injury.
If all else fails, wrap yourself up in bubble wrap and stay home.
While you’re avoiding sports, avoid other risky behaviors that may endanger your life. For example, don't drink and driving or do drugs, and always wear a helmet when you’re riding a motorcycle.
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Save Up for Emergencies
Finally, if you’re participating in a high-deductible insurance plan, look into your health savings account (HSA) eligibility. An HSA is a great way to save for future medical expenses. Note that not everyone is eligible to participate in an HSA.
But if you are, you should consider opening one. You can contribute to HSAs yearly and allow them to grow. They’re even tax-deductible and provide a great way to avoid going into debt when dealing with medical related expenses.
Who knows when American health care will get its act together? But until then, take a proactive approach instead of reactive one so that you can managing your health more easily.