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Healthcare costs are spiraling out of control. In 2016 alone, U.S. health care costs equaled over $3.3 trillion. That’s trillion with a T. That means the burden of covering costly care falls to Americans, many of which are struggling enough to make ends meet.

Changing regulations, employers attempting to lower costs, high-deductible plans, and an overall decline in general health are all to blame for rising costs. In a perfect world, everyone would be able to afford healthcare without worrying about the price of services. While it’s true the main action should be from politicians, insurance companies, and healthcare providers, we as everyday citizens don’t have to accept healthcare costs for what they are. Here’s what we can all do to fight these costs in our own lives.

1. Consider Your Options

The first step is to review all of your options. While typical employer-offered insurance is the best way to go, it might not be depending on your situation. Beyond checking your employer insurance plans, review local and state options on HealthMarkets insurance marketplace.

If monthly costs are the biggest worry for you, consider a high-deductible plan. These are also known as “emergency plans” since they likely won’t cover much regular treatment. However, they’ll be a godsend if you find yourself in an emergency and need medical assistance. You’ll be expected to pay more out-of-pocket for things like office visits, prescription drugs, and exams, but you can ease this burden with a tax-deductible Health Savings Account (HSA).

As you can see, many individuals today are finding unique ways to lower their medical costs on a monthly basis. You might not need extensive coverage if you’re healthy and don’t expect to need specialist care anytime soon. Don’t pay for more healthcare than you need.

2. Start Healthy Habits

Healthcare costs are spiraling out of control
Healthcare costs are spiraling out of control

Healthy habits go a long way towards lowering your healthcare costs. No matter how much the costs rise on a national scale, if you’re healthy, they won’t affect you nearly as much. While there isn’t much you can do about pre-existing conditions, healthy habits like a balanced diet and exercise plan will take you far. People who smoke tobacco and drink alcohol regularly also find that their insurance costs are higher. 

Consider your diet the most basic form of health insurance. Choose foods like fruits and veggies that are naturally low in calorie and rich in vital nutrients. Get in the habit of exercising as little as 30 minutes a day to reduce your risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and more.

3. Visit the Doctor Regularly

While it might seem like the opposite of saving money with your health costs to visit the doctor frequently, these small visits will save you more in the long run. If you’re healthy and don’t drink or smoke, you might be able to get away with a check-up every 3 years.

However, you should always stay on top of exams and checks with things like blood pressure, cholesterol, bi-annual paps and breast exams for women, and more. Catching any potential problem early on is key to keeping costs down and increasing your chances of a full recovery.

4. Embrace Modern Alternatives

Technology has introduced us to many alternatives to traditional healthcare. The most obvious is telemedicine. Now, it’s possible to speak to a health care provider over the phone or through video chat. This is not only more affordable, but it’s much more convenient than planning around a doctor’s visit. You can find telemedicine for just about any issue nowadays from minor checkups to mental health.

A popular alternative to traditional medicine and treatment is CBD. With a full name of cannabidiol, CBD already sounds like a costly medication. However, it’s natural and full of medical benefits that you can’t get with pricey drugs. From helping with chronic pain to reducing inflammation, and even a suitable option for depression and anxiety, CBD might be the miracle drug we’ve all been waiting for.

Lowering Costs and Staying Healthy

It’s likely you’ll need healthcare at some point in the future no matter what you do to stay healthy. That’s why it’s essential for you to prepare now by saving for out-of-pocket costs and considering alternatives to modern insurance plans. While costs are rising every year, you don’t have to accept paying more each month for the same care.

Look for alternatives that work with your lifestyle. From telemedicine to CBD and of course, making healthy lifestyle choices, you might not need the same treatment you’ve used in the past. Ultimately, your health is the most important thing you have. How will you protect it? 

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