Health Consciousness and Insurance Rates

money invest for healthDid you know that being smarter about your health can directly affect your health care costs? It’s true! Lower health care literacy has been linked to unnecessary over treatment, fewer scheduled preventative services, and higher hospitalization rates, all of which increase your health care costs and put you at greater risk. In the following article, we review the types of behaviors associated with having a high health literacy and how these behaviors save people money on their insurance rates.

They Learn to Advocate for Themselves

Those of us who are health conscious are smart enough to know which treatments and medications we need and which ones are unnecessary. These unnecessary treatments, including over prescribed medications, fall under a term called “overutilization.” Overutilization occurs when health care is provided at a higher volume than necessary or at a higher cost than is appropriate to the treatment. In other words, if patients don’t have high health care literacy, they may not be able to advocate for themselves and refuse excessive or redundant tests or treatments.

In fact, overutilization is such a problem in health care that the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now known as the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), estimates that 30 percent of US health care expenditures are a waste of money. Of that percentage, the IOM estimates $210 billion stems from unnecessary health care services.

They Schedule Regular Doctors Visits and Use ER Sparingly

Those with high health literacies tend to go to the doctor regularly, which helps them understand their current health status better than those with lower health literacies. This helps them avoid the common traps of overutilization, which we see in doctors over-prescribing medications (such as antibiotics for upper respiratory infections), excessive imaging services, unnecessary surgeries, excessive stress tests, and emergency-room visits for symptoms normally seen at a person’s doctor’s office. Many of these instances of overutilization can be avoided if a patient fully understands his or her health status and the full range of treatment options available. For example, rather than visit the ER for suspected strep throat, a health-literate patient would hold off and schedule an appointment with his or her family doctor. Doing so not only helps you save money, but also reduces the overall costs of healthcare for everyone.

They Take Advantage of Preventative Services

Health conscious patients take their health seriously. They schedule physicals with their primary care provider annually, make other appointments when necessary, and live a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent health problems later in life. Unfortunately, even if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle, if you’re not keeping your annual doctor’s appointments, you may still be part of the problem that drives up health care costs.

The yearly physical is often included in insurance plans free of charge because it’s such an essential part of keeping insurance rates down. Preventative services like these can spot illnesses and risk factors early, long before they have a chance to develop into life-threatening concerns. Too often, we hear of cancer patients who didn’t know they were sick until they were diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, and while many cancers do indeed grow quickly, preventative services have a better chance of spotting them before it’s too late for treatment.

As a health-conscious consumer, you should adhere to your doctor’s recommended visits and consider other areas that positively impact your overall health, such as dental, vision, and physical therapy services. Staying on top of these areas of health ensures you save money on health care costs and don’t strain the system.

Keeping Your Insurance Rates Down

The reality is, many Americans don’t spend enough time researching health insurance benefits options before choosing their plan. Those with higher health literacy will compare their options, perform research beyond the packet their employer has provided for them, ask questions to get a clear picture of what’s included in each insurance plan, and get their questions answered by an expert in the field to make sure they are getting the right insurance plan for them. The same can be said for life insurance.

Health IQ celebrates health conscious consumers by extending special rates on life insurance to those who deserve it most. When you’ve spent a lifetime eating right, exercising, keeping up with your annual physicals, and doing your best to stay healthy, statistics say you should live longer than the average American. Naturally, this means enjoying special rates on term life insurance.

If you’re already a health conscious consumer, enlist the help of an expert to find the right insurance plan for you and your family. Our services are particularly beneficial to endurance athletes and strength trainers with low resting heart rates and muscular builds. Muscular builds can mean having an increased body mass index (BMI) that puts you over a weight limit for discounted health insurance rates, but we take these things into account at Health IQ. Simply verify your activity level to qualify.

Being health conscious has many benefits, so why not reap the rewards? Contact Health IQ to see how much you can save.

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Difference Between Saving and Investment?

savings for investmentsWhen it is time to decide what you would like to do with the extra money leftover after paying off all your bills. You can either save it or invest it. Although savings and investment are sometimes used interchangeably, many people confuse savings and investment for the concept – however, they are not the same. Both savings and investments can be used for meeting various expenses in life, there are some major differences between them.

The primary difference between savings and investments is that while saving money generally implies putting aside a part of your income regularly in order to meet unforeseen expenses, investment means putting your saved money in various financial instruments in order to maximize your returns and grow your wealth.

Another key difference between savings and investment is the appetite for risk that you are willing to take when putting aside money for savings and investments. It might not make sense to park your savings in long term instruments with a lock in period that does not allow you to access them during a financial emergency – what savings were designed to do in the first place.

At the same time, keeping all your money stored in a safety vault might be very safe, but will not generate any returns over the years. On the other hand, if the money invested in various products like stocks, mutual funds, gold, etc. you may have to take on more risks, but there is potential for your investment to grow over time. If invested wisely, your money can grow over the years. If planned smartly, then investment in stock market can make your invested money grow manifold.

People typically save for meeting short term needs – a set target or objective. However, investment generally entails a longer horizon of six months or more. It is designed to provide returns and grow your money over a period of time.

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3 Emergencies That Can Destroy Your Finances

financial emergenciesAn emergency is defined as any serious event that requires immediate attention. Bearing that in mind, what emergencies can occur that end up causing your finances serious harm? Below, you’ll find three big ones that can really hurt your family and your money:

Your House Getting Damaged

Damage to your house is an emergency none of us wants to deal with. The simple fact is there are many ways in which your house can suffer serious damages. What if a bad storm hits and the wind damages your roof or lightning strikes your house. Or, what if someone in your home accidentally starts a fire and your kitchen goes up in flames? When you start to think about it, there are so many things that can happen that lead to your house getting damaged. The worst thing is, in an emergency like this, the repairs to your house will be very costly. There could be serious damages that need fixing and a lot of work that needs to be carried out in your home. In some cases, you may need an entire roof replaced or your house cleared and dried out after water damages. Regardless of how your house gets damaged, the consequences may be very dire for your finances.

A Family Member Getting Arrested

When someone in your family gets arrested, it does count as an emergency. It’s come out of nowhere, it’s a challenging life event, and it requires immediate attention. We’re not talking about someone in your family getting arrested for serious crimes here. We’re talking about if someone is maybe out partying with their friends and they get arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour. Or, they make a mistake and shoplift. Regardless, someone in your family might make an error of judgement and end up arrested and awaiting bail. This then means you have to go through the effort of contacting a company like Kat Bail Bonds to help you pay the bail and get them out of jail. Depending on the crime, it could cost a lot of money and leave your finances in a very bad position.

A Car Crash

Car crashes are probably the most common emergency out of all three listed here. Also, they’re very damaging to your finances as they can hurt you in multiple ways. With a car crash, you have the financial pain of dealing with a damaged car as well as any medical problems that may occur. You could end up with broken bones or muscle strains that require immediate and expensive medical attention. If you have a good insurance policy, you might be covered for events like this and not have to pay for repairs to your vehicle. Likewise, you could find a lawyer to help you make a personal injury claim and avoid those medical expenses. However, then you end up with a lawyer fee, which can also be costly! No matter where you turn, a car crash can have a detrimental effect on your finances for some time after the event.

If any of these emergencies happen, they need to be dealt with quickly. The problem is, they all require a lot of money to be spent. The best way to handle an emergency is to have an emergency fund set up. This means you’ve got money saved away to help you in case scenarios like these happen.

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Paving the Road to Financial Security

financial safetyFor many people, financial security is something that always seems to be just out of reach. And while there is no doubt that it cannot be achieved overnight (unless you have a big lottery win) paving the road to financial security is something that you should be aiming for your entire life. Ultimately, it is all about getting into some good habits and making some savvy decisions. So, here a few financial points that you should consider whatever point of life you are at.

Recognize Yourself as Your Biggest Asset

Developing your skills, knowledge and experience will stand you in good stead when it comes to your financial future. You never know when you may need to call on these things that you have learned over the years. Rather than squirreling away that extra bit of money every month, you will be far better off treating yourself as an investment. So you could decide to complete a course or have some lessons in something instead.

Set Short-term Goals

Many people have long-term financial goals that they aim to achieve, but it is impossible to predict what twists and turns your life will take. Instead, you should choose some measurable and attainable short-term goals to focus your time on. As an example, you could aim to pay off your credit card debt. Make sure that you set a specific time limit on this, as you are much more likely to enjoy success if you do this rather than letting it drag on indefinitely.

Become Financially Literate

Saving money every month is obviously a good habit to get into, but it is not helping you to become financially literate. For example, have you done the necessary research that tells you that this account is giving you the best return on your investment? Are you aware of the other investment opportunities that are out there? People who keep up with the finer details of finances are much more likely to enjoy financial security in the future.

Keep an Eye on Your Lifestyle Costs

Making sure that you aren’t living beyond your means is one of the best habits you can get into during your life. The best way of doing this is by keeping a close eye on your expenses. Write out a list of your regular outgoings so you can decide whether or not there are any savings that can be made. As your living situation changes and your expenses adjust, it is important that you reassess and reapportion your expenses.

Don’t Borrow to Finance a Lifestyle

If you decide that you want to start a business, you may well find that you need to borrow some money to finance your venture. This is an example of a calculated financial risk. If you want to buy a new car, you shouldn’t be racking up credit card debt in order to do this as this will never stand you in good stead in the future. Not buying what you can’t afford is one of the most important financial lessons you can learn.

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How To Pull Yourself Out Of Financial Difficulties After A Challenging Life Event

help in financeSometimes, life can throw you a challenge, and they can often lead to unprecedented emotional and financial difficulties. Therefore, whether you’ve been made redundant, extreme weather has damaged your home beyond repair, or, you’ve gone through a costly divorce; it’s vital that you get your thinking cap on and figure out what to do financially. Working out your money and where it’s going as soon as possible, will help protect you and your assets in the future. The following are some things you might need to consider, should you find yourself in financial strife.

Maintaining Your Income

During difficult life events, like divorce, it’s important that the other key areas of your lifestyle remain as intact as possible. Therefore, it’s essential that you inform your employer of any significant changes to your situation, so that they understand that you may need some time out of the office, and you won’t have to jeopardize your job. If it’s your job that you’ve lost, and you find yourself redundant, then you must financially plan immediately, and pick up any work available, while you search for your next career move.

By maintaining a steady income, and carefully considering any purchases, you’ll be able to ease the transition into any other major life changes. This will help your and your family, both financially, and emotionally in the future.

Rebuilding Your Credit

Life changes that cause financial hardship and struggles can often lead to you to paying for things with a credit card or not paying back loans and bills on time. These difficult financial situations can result in bad credit, and for you to figure out how you’re going to rebuild your life, you’ll need to seek professional help and advice. You can research into credit repair services, find out; does Lexington Law really work and discover what you’ll need to do to get yourself out of the red again.

Selling Your Assets

In order to release some equity, and get back on your feet financially, you might need to make some tough decisions in regards to your property and bigger assets. Downsizing your accommodation, or replacing your car with an affordable alternative, are decisions to make quickly so that you can save as much of your money as possible. Check out 10 tips to sell your home fast here.

Even though it might be a tough process to go through, relinquishing your expensive assets could give you the cash you need in the present, and secure a lucrative future for you and your family. Remember that nothing has to be permanent, and if you’re willing to make the sacrifices now, you’re likely to benefit in the long run.

Changing Your Lifestyle

It’s all very well ensuring that you’re still working and that you’ve downsized to affordable alternatives; however, if you continue to spend money in all the same places as before, you’ll run out of it pretty quickly. You’ll need to rethink where and how you shop, and ensure that your monthly outgoings are significantly reduced; so that if you do have spare cash, you can save it for the future.

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