Want to fight rising health care costs? Take control and stay healthy

By Frank N. Darras

DarrasLaw


Americans are in a constant struggle to win the battle against the rising costs of health care today. The best thing to do is to just stay healthy.

Politicians have been fighting for years over the best health care reform for America. They just don't seem to be able to solve the problem. Insurance companies keep raising deductibles, increasing co-pays, and reducing coverage on diagnostic testing. With no real solution in sight, American should just do whatever they can to stay healthy and lower their own health care costs.

Even if Americans can't control what Congress and the insurance companies are doing, they can certainly control their own health; live well and work to stay out of the doctor's office, the hospital and to reduce their dependence on pharmaceutical drugs.

Health insurance premiums rose 119 percent between 1999 and 2008. In ads, on the news, and even from our own doctors, Americans hear that they need to get off the couch and win this battle by exercising and eating right. We are told that just 30 minutes a day of walking has proven to reduce such things as osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes.

If every trip to the doctor's office costs between $20-$40, can you imagine the out-of-pocket costs incurred by someone who has to be monitored by a doctor more frequently? Two such diseases, high blood pressure and bad cholesterol can be positively affected by regular exercise, according to the Mayo Clinic. If not controlled, these two things could have you visiting the doctor every other week. Ouch! That could really hurt the wallet.

We all know that eating healthy benefits overall health, but how many people ignore this advice? Choosing to eat poorly costs you money in the long run.

A poor diet can increase your dependence on pharmaceutical drugs. The cost of name brand pharmaceutical drugs goes up drastically each year. Eating a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been proven to improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

In reality, Americans are helpless to fight the rising costs of health insurance. However, while the battle rages on in Washington, people can maintain healthy lifestyles and win their own battles.

Since the average consumer can't control premiums, healthy living affords them the ability to choose catastrophic deductibles that reduce their monthly premiums. Yes, you do have to put the effort and time into this process, but you could save thousands of dollars a year by not paying for services and medications. Which is more painful? So, eat an apple and take a walk with a friend. Thirty minutes is not a lot of time, given the rewards you will receive.

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