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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