Why You Need to Care About Your Health Finances

Want more money in your savings account? We all do. Probably the best way to save yourself a lot of that hard-earned dough is to stay healthy. Look at these staggering statistics:

  • According to a report on Health Care Spending in 2012, per capita health spending for females was $8,315, about 23 percent more than for males who spend $6,788 (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)
  • 1 out of every 6 U.S. healthcare dollar is spent on heart disease (CDC Foundation)
  • Research sponsored by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) estimates that the typical 55-year-old retiree will spend approximately $226,000 more out-of-pocket on health care after retirement than a person retiring at age 65 if they both live to age 85 (Health Care Cost Institute)
  • If you develop diabetes, it is likely to cost you about $13,700 a year (American Diabetes Association)
  • Chemotherapy for Colon Cancer costs about $46,000 to treat (drugwatch)

These figures don’t even include the cost to you for your time lost going to the doctor, paying for numerous medications or simply not being able to enjoy your life to the fullest.

So, how can you keep your money in your own pocket versus the healthcare system’s? Try to take care of yourself. Now! Today! Not tomorrow, not next week. Take care of yourself today and every day and you will have more money to spend on the things you enjoy versus trying to just stay alive.

3 Keys to Saving More Money Through Your Health

Key #1 – Prevention

Chronic disease is largely preventable, according to the CDC. In a world with high deductibles, it would serve you well to investigate your healthcare costs and see where you can save money. Because quite frankly, we hope you never meet your deductible.

  • Shop around for healthcare tests and screenings. There’s an assumption that all your healthcare needs must be done at your doctor’s office. But if you shop around, you’re likely to find low-cost screenings outside of your doctor’s office. And they may even be more comprehensive. These tests can help you identify health issues before they become a costly problem.
  • Schedule your yearly wellness visit. Most insurance plans offer one free checkup each year. You’re paying a premium for your insurance, so don’t let this money go to waste. Make an appointment with your doctor, and bring your results from any screenings you received elsewhere. Your doctor will appreciate it!
  • Know what health issues run in your family. Many diseases are hereditary. Know what runs in your family and learn what you can do to prevent them. Know the signs you need to look out for, should you start to develop symptoms.

Key #2 – Nutrition

You get out of your body what you put into it. So yes, if you want to save money, then you need to spend a little up front so you can save a ton down the road. That means you need to eat healthy.

However, there’s a dirty rumor going around that to eat healthy you must spend tons of money. Sure, an apple may cost more than a package of ramen. However, that’s just the upfront monetary cost. What about the cost of ingesting all that sodium into your body? There will be a cost to your waist line and your pocket down the road if you develop any of the common diseases from poor nutrition – such as diabetes or heart disease.

Health Fitness Revolution cites a Harvard study noting that it only costs you an extra $1.50 a day to eat healthier. Maybe drop that often-cited sugary latte habit? Then you’ll have the money to eat healthier and feel good.

Key #3 – Exercise

In our busy lives, this is often one of the first things we sacrifice for more time. Why is it that we’re so quick to give up exercise first? Maybe it’s because most of us view exercise as work. Is that because we just haven’t found the right exercise?

Exercise can be fun. If you want to find the right workout for you, just look at your interests. You’ll find it in there. Do you love animals? Take your dog for a lengthy walk. Or go for a hike and do some bird spotting.

Want to do something with kids? Play sports as a family.

If you find something you enjoy you’ll find that it will be the last thing you’re willing to sacrifice when life gets busy. Your body and checking account will thank you.

Also, whenever possible, why not bike or walk to wherever you’re going? Then you’ll also save money on gas.

The more you exercise, the less you’re likely to have to spend on healthcare costs. The Mayo Clinic recommends exercising for 30 minutes a day. Do that, and you’re likely also to sleep better – which is also going to keep you healthy and save you money down the road.

To end with a little motivation here – if you had the money already saved what would you buy? A new TV? New clothes? A trip with friends or family? Think of what you’d rather be spending your money on and use that as an incentive to get going and stay on track.