Rising healthcare costs are a common concern for all of us modern-day millennials. While advancement in medical science is adding to our longevity, it is also creating the requirement of having bulkier wallets. That can be a practical impossibility for middle class men like you and me having a big family to run.
However, you don’t need to be disheartened over the issue of growing healthcare bill. Today we are going to share some insights on the best ways in which you can optimise the healthcare costs without spending your entire bank balance on the same. So, read on to know more about making smart choices for a better and healthier tomorrow:
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
As the old saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. If you start making healthy choices today, then you can definitely save up on the medical expenses of tomorrow. Studies have revealed that the U.S. population can bring down their healthcare spending by 8% if they can reduce their average BMI or body mass index by 5%.
35-year-old Robert had a family history of diabetes and blood pressure. Being the sole earning member of a family of four, he already had big responsibilities to shoulder. Adding healthcare expenses to it was something he simply couldn’t afford anymore especially when he had his aged parents and pregnant wife residing with him.
That is why he started eating healthy and filled up his plate with loads of fresh greens and other protein-rich food. Meditation has endless benefits for our body and mind, as well as going on daily jogging sessions also helped in bringing down his waistline by burning away the excess calories. He also went for routine check-ups at government hospitals to be sure of his health curve. These small steps came together to help Robert ring in heavy savings in the medical frontier.
Make use of preventive health screenings
Medical screenings are very helpful in both detecting and preventing specific diseases. This kind of preventive medicine is often advocated by different health care professionals especially for seniors as an easy pathway to proceed towards healthy ageing.
While these are mostly offered at discounted prices, the overall cost is substantially lower than having to deal with any form of chronic ailment once its attacks your body. Early detection can also help in controlling its spread and curing the disease in most cases.
The insurance plans of United States are legally bound to cover a variety of common preventive services like immunizations, mammograms and many more which you can take advantage of for keeping your healthcare expenses low. The free community health screening sessions are also helpful in measuring the blood pressure and blood sugar count without having to incur any additional cost.
These area-specific screening programs are usually organised by different healthcare providers or insurers in the form of a promotional event. Nevertheless, you should always keep your eyes and ears open to attend these screenings and benefit from the same. If you are unsure about the upcoming medical camps, then you can enquire with your local health department or the state health department. Hospitals and welfare clubs also organise such benevolent events every now and then. You can enquire around for these free preventive screenings.
Seek out the right kind of treatment
Andrew, a retired school teacher had a habit of running to the doctor’s chamber even on having the simplest of ailments. His friends and family even started joking about his growing obsession over being ‘penny wise pound foolish.’ Andrew always argued that he was playing it safe to prevent higher healthcare costs in days to come. But he failed to comprehend that these frequent doctor visits were adding to his expense meter nonetheless.
You should thus make it a point not to visit the hospital emergency room for non-emergency purposes. If you really require immediate medical care, then you should definitely pay a visit to the hospital. But if the degree of intensity is not that high, then you can make do with lower-cost alternatives like phone call, email or video consultations which can be availed either for free or at reduced rates.
The walk-in and express clinics are the perfect choice for treating minor injuries, common cold and the flu. You should also enquire around a bit in search for the most affordable service. But whenever you decide to get advanced check-ups done, it is always advisable to keep your primary care physician in the loop.
Co-ordination of medical data
The cost of healthcare has been impacted severely by the growing degree of specialization and fragmentation. This is why it becomes necessary to have everything coordinated in one place as otherwise you might end up doing the same tests and undergoing the same treatments on a repeat mode.
Lack of sufficient knowledge can simply add up to your overall costs. You should thus participate actively in facilitating coordination and communication amongst all the healthcare providers to improve the care and bring down redundant costs simultaneously.
Mr. Radcliffe, a veteran accountant had always been very systematic in his work field. He had gained accolades for his organized way of doing work and maintaining files. The same systematization could also be seen in the way he maintained all his personal medical files.
He made it a point to carry all the properly organised test and medical records whenever he went to visit his physician’s chamber. This made it easy for the doctor to diagnose him properly and also kept Mr. Radcliffe buffered from undergoing the same tests time and again.
Seek out the best price
When was the last time you went to shop and bought a pair of boots without looking at other options? If you are feeling clueless about answering this question, then its time to apply the same policy in choosing healthcare options. Healthcare services ranging from getting an insurance to being admitted in a hospital should be treated in a manner similar to buying a car or a house.
You are the consumer here and its your right to seek out the best quality service at a competitive price. However, it is imperative to note here that healthcare doesn’t have a straightforward price tag. You will have to do your homework properly for collating all the information needed to make the best value choices.
The cost of medical procedures usually varies from one provider to another. This is why you need to do a bit of research before settling with a particular clinic and hospital. Similarly, you also need to compare between the prices offered on medical supplies by pharmacies before placing your purchase.
Price of the same medicine can also vary widely between shops and doing a little research can help you crack the best deal. You can also ask around for used medical equipment to deliver affordable care to patients under treatment.
Negotiate the hospital bill
We are all born with negotiation skills and the medical fraternity is a place where you can actually put it into action. Afterall, when you are paying such exorbitant fees, it is your right to seek out a justification of the cost from the service providers. You can also use your personal connections to make the hospital authorities understand your position and try to reduce the charges if possible.
Clear all your doubts
Healthcare experts have immense knowledge in the particular subject matter and that’s why laymen like me and you seek out their advice. However, you should never stop trusting your own decisions and abide by the recommendations of the hospitals without any counter questions. At the end of the day, it is your health in question and the money is also going from your pocket. Thus, you have the complete right to enquire about the processes in depth to take a well-informed call which shall be in sync with your best interests.
The best means of bringing down healthcare expenses is to be proactive with the whole process. Before starting treatment prescribed by a doctor, you should always enquire about the variation in cost to avail the best deal. Various tools are available which offer an easy comparison between the price and quality of healthcare services offered by each facility.
If there is any particular hospital preference, then you can put your negotiation skills into action. While calling the clinics and hospitals, you need to have your medical file and health insurance information handy to keep the entire process error-free and seamless.
Certain hospitals provide patients with an option of an interest-free payment plan to mitigate steep healthcare bills. These plans allow making monthly or bi-monthly payment towards the expenses or have them deducted automatically from your bank account.
While the above-mentioned tips can help in lowering down the healthcare expenses significantly, you should also discuss its viability with your doctor and weigh out the other options you can try out in the form of alternative treatments.
It is also advisable to do adequate research on your end and talk to friends and family who have experienced medical emergencies in the past, so that you can be prepared to tackle every scenario that might arise.
How to Naturally Boost Your Immune System During COVID-19
There is hardly anyone these days who doesn’t know about coronavirus. Also known as COVID-19, coronavirus is a respiratory disease caused by a large family of viruses. An infected person may show symptoms such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
Although it was first identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019, coronavirus has already spread throughout the world . While the majority of the people infected are recovering from the comfort of their home, some people are getting severely sick, eventually dying, due to a poor immune system.
Your body will be less likely to become sick if you have a strong immune system, which in most cases can fight potential, invisible enemies on its own. Even potentially dangerous viruses!
Some dietary and lifestyle changes can help you fight against harmful pathogens by strengthening your natural defenses.
Best Natural Ways to Boost Your Immunity
While maintaining social distance and proper hygiene, make sure you’re following a healthy diet and lifestyle to improve your immunity.
Here are some of the natural ways you can try to boost your immune system.
Consider Eating Whole Plant Foods
You need to make sure your body gets enough vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Whole plant foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts are rich in such nutrients that will help your body fight against deadly pathogens.
Some fruits and vegetables contain a significant amount of vitamin C, A, and D. All of them are essential for improving immunity.
Although vitamin C has been endorsed by the Chinese doctors as a potential treatment for COVID-19, there’s no such proof it can actually fight the disease.
However, taking a certain dose of such vitamins can lower your chance of catching a cold and other respiratory illnesses.
Opt for Medicinal Mushrooms
Mushrooms are considered superfoods and for good reasons. They contain strong immune-boosting properties that can improve the activity of your immune cells, such as natural killer cells and macrophages.
The medicinal components of mushrooms are quite effective against respiratory illnesses including influenza and the common cold.
There are several types of medicinal mushrooms, such as shiitake, chaga, maitake, and reishi mushroom extract, that are available in capsules, tinctures, liquids, and powder forms.
Consume More Healthy Fat
Chronic inflammation can take a toll on your overall immune system. Healthy fats can improve your body’s immune response against disease-causing viruses and bacteria by reducing inflammation.
Foods like salmon and olive oil contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce oxidative stress and boost your immunity.
Limit Your Sugar Consumption
Several studies have suggested that an increased amount of sugar and carbohydrates can contribute to obesity, eventually making you sick.
Obese people tend to get the flu more than those who have a balanced weight.
This is because sugar is an immunosuppressant. It can feed pathogenic bacteria and damage mitochondrial function, thus imbalancing your gut microbiomes.
Avoid adding extra sugar to your dessert and juices. If you love sweets, then go for fresh fruits that have natural and healthy sugar, such as mango or pineapple.
Have Some Probiotics
Fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir, and natto are a good source of healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These bacteria help improve the functionality of your digestive tract and boost immune function.
Due to the presence of these healthy gut bacteria, your immune system can differentiate between a healthy cell and a harmful organism.
If you don’t find any good probiotic foods, consider having some supplements to improve your gut health.
Get Proper Sleep
Sleep is often underrated as people don’t understand its connection with the immune system. But the truth is sleep and immunity have a close relationship.
Inadequate sleep can increase your risk of getting sick as it can compromise your immune system. It’s essential to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night to strengthen your natural immunity.
You can easily improve your sleeping pattern by reducing your screen time, sleeping in a completely dark room, and exercising regularly.
Do Some Moderate Exercises
While you’re stuck at home due to COVID-19, it’s the perfect time to do some light exercises. It will not only help you stay in shape, but it will also boost your immune system.
Research conducted in 2015 showed that doing regular exercise can decrease inflammation and improve the effectiveness of vaccines in those who have compromised immunity.
To stay healthy, try to do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercises every week such as jogging, bicycling, brisk walking, and swimming. If that seems like too much, that is just over twenty minutes a day.
Reduce Your Stress
While it’s quite normal to get stressed and anxious due to the overflowing of news regarding coronavirus throughout the newspaper, social media, and TV, staying stressed for too long it’s worse you can do. Sometimes switching off the news or Facebook is the best way to go. Instead of worrying to much, make sure your your body is ready to fight if needed!
Try your best to cope with the anxiety caused by the corona pandemic, as stress is a huge factor which weakens immune system.
Chronic stress can increase the adrenaline and cortisol hormones that produce inflammatory chemicals and cause an imbalance in immune cell function.
Besides, long-term psychological stress can compromise the immune system of children, which is why it’s important to stay calm.
Time of self- isolation can be the perfect time to finally learn or master meditation and other zen techniques to increase the power of your mind. If you have any hobbies such as writing or painting, try to spend some time doing things you love.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils can be another excellent option in boosting your immune response. These oils are rich in anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties that can prepare your body to fight against several respiratory diseases.
There are some popular essential oils such as eucalyptus, clove, tea tree, and cinnamon that you can try to boost your immunity.
Since these oils are quite strong, it’s highly recommended that you use them only externally through an essential oil bracelet for instance or in aromatherapy.
While you cannot boost your immune system overnight, eating healthy foods and doing moderate exercise will keep you healthy and active in the long run.
Instead of being tense and panicked about this deadly virus, prepare yourself to prevent it from getting you. You can do that by staying home, washing your hands properly, and following a healthy diet.
Remember, having a good immune system doesn’t mean you will not get infected by COVID-19. However, it will lower your chances in getting sick and improve your overall health.