Friday, 19 October 2012

Can't Afford to Get Sick

The stories are heartbreaking.  Doctors find themselves stuck in a dilemma between treating patients with inadequate or no medical coverage and deciding to not treat them at all.  Insurance companies are posting huge losses in the medical industry as treatments become increasingly costlier.  Employers find themselves taking on more costs as health insurance premiums rise in this cycle.  While all this is going on, more consumers are caught in the middle of this war accumulating debt for medical expenses.

More and more, people are finding that health insurance coverage is just not adequate for major medical treatments.  People who are driven into debt from medical expenses typically have some type of health care coverage.  With the average household paying 10% or more towards medical expenses, individuals and families alike are feeling the pinch.  A recent study showed that there is a general feeling that health care is mostly or completely unaffordable.  People have put off or even refused treatments, prescriptions, routine check-ups and even surgery as they consider the costs of being able to afford such treatments.
Is there an answer?  As the government, insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals seek a solution to this escalating problem, people will still have to find their own ways to manage medical expenses.  They will have to develop a system that gives them more control over costs, providers and treatments and that means getting more involved in their health care management process. 
Manage your medical spending.  Being clueless about the costs of medical care has to be a thing of the past.  People will need to be better informed about which treatments and prescriptive drugs are necessary more than ever before.  As new developments like health savings accounts (HSAs) arise, consumers will find themselves having to manage their medical expenses by default.  Also, medical expense manager software programs are being developed that help to track expenses as well as take advantage of tax benefits.
Start focusing on prevention.  Proper nutrition and exercise, combined with routine check-ups can prevent a multitude of ailments or at least prevent them from getting worse.  Smoking cessation programs or weight loss management groups are becoming increasingly popular as society in general takes a more active role in dealing with their health issues.  A healthy lifestyle promotes better health and reduces overall medical expense costs in the long run.
Can you really afford to get sick?  The question should be, what can you do to manage costs once you get sick?  Preparing for the costs of medical expenses begins way before you even take your first trip to the doctor.  The truth is that everyone has a part to play in managing their health care costs.  As the government, insurance companies, and physicians are looking at ways to make medical expenses more affordable, people will have to learn to take a proactive approach to dealing with medical care.