Four Ways to Save on
Health Care and Insurance
May 1, 2012
Vol. 8, Issue 5
Last month, I shared how you could reduce your health insurance premiums and taxes with a Health Savings Account plan, but there is an even more important way to drastically cut what you pay for health care and insurance – and that is to avoid medical expenses in the first place With my Master's degree in nutrition and exercise science, I personally believe that if you eat a Paleolithic-type diet and get a little bit of intense exercise, 80 percent of the diseases we struggle with will no longer be a problem. In this issue, I’ll share some simple steps you can take this summer that could cut your lifetime health care costs in half.
Summer Is the Perfect Time to Get Healthy
For me, this month is really the beginning of summer with kids getting out of school and Memorial Day coming. It’s the perfect time to lose winter-weight gain and make a few small changes that will have a great big payoff.
If you look at the latest research, you’ll find you have a lot more control over your health than we used to believe. Walter C. Willett, a Harvard epidemiologist, has come up with some pretty shocking news. He says we could prevent 90 percent of type 2 diabetes, 80 percent of coronary artery disease, and 70 percent of colon cancer and stroke by doing just four things.
- Smoke and drink a little less
- Walk a little more
- Eat a few more vegetables and fruits
- Lose some weight.
Did you notice he’s talking about small changes instead of big ones? Will a few changes really lower your premiums and your medical bills?
Health, home and life insurance companies charge smokers higher rates. Most health insurance companies won’t give you a significant rate reduction until you’re smoke-free for at least a year, but staying smoke-free brings the biggest reduction in premiums. For example, a 44-year-old male smoker might be paying more than $3,200 a year in higher premiums for health, home and life coverage than a non-smoker.
Almost half of us who once smoked have quit. Here’s why: within hours of stopping, your body starts to recover. Blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature return to healthier levels. Breathing is easier and your blood can carry more oxygen with less poisonous carbon monoxide in it.
How to Help Yourself
Since premiums reflect how much insurance companies expect your health care is likely to cost, alcohol intake also drives up rates. WebMD says your doctor can prescribe medicine that will not only help you safely withdraw from alcohol, but will also help you stay sober.
Can just walking make a difference in what you pay for health care and insurance? WebMD says walking regularly helps lower cholesterol, reduce your risk of diabetes, increase bone strength and improve circulation.
Walking also fights obesity, and the cost of obesity has been found to exceed the cost of smoking. The Mayo Clinic published these findings in March saying, “Smoking added about 20 percent a year to medical costs,” and “obesity was similar, but morbid obesity increased those costs by 50 percent a year.”
One of the best ways to lose weight is to eat more vegetables, and that also fights the #1 killer disease. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that people who had eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day were 22 percent less likely to die from heart disease than people who ate three or fewer servings. The Harvard School of Public Health says to eat at least 4½ cups (or nine servings) of vegetables and fruits a day, and eat a variety of colors and kinds. Dark leafy greens, cooked tomatoes, and rich yellow, orange, and red produce are best, and potatoes don't even count.
I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done, right? Yes, my family and I do follow this advice and I can tell you, you really do get more out of life. You can check out our personal blog about feeding your family a healthy diet at www.SuperKidGuide.com.
To your health and wealth!