Even though the bill that would have replaced the Affordable Healthcare Act failed to pass Congress, there’s still a great deal of uncertainty about what the future holds. The Republicans may introduce a new version of their bill, or they may not. Health care insurers are threatening to pull out of the insurance exchanges in some areas. There may not be much you can do about all this, but you can make some simple changes in your lifestyle that will save you lots of money. We’re sure you’ve heard the old faithful’s if stop smoking, eat less, and exercise more. But beyond these, there are some lesser-known things that you could do that will reduce your spending on healthcare. Here are seven of them.
1. Get a pet
Yes, seriously get a pet. It’s best to get a dog because a dog will require daily walking. And walking daily can help you lower your blood pressure, fight stress, and get you out exercising regularly. In addition, when you’re out walking regularly, you can make new friends and extend your social circle. The experts say that walking just 30 minutes a day could help you lose as much as 00 pounds a month – if that’s important to you.
2. Become a volunteer
Believe it or not, it’s been pretty well proven that altruism reduces the risk of dying early. In fact, according to one study, volunteering seems to “buffer” the effects that can be caused by a stressful situation.
3. Move to a cheaper market
This one’s a bit radical but there may be cheaper healthcare markets besides where you live. A study done in 2014, and reported by Kaiser Health News, found that Colorado ski resort towns, the Connecticut suburbs of New york Cty, and the rural regions of Mississippis, Georgia, and Nevada, topped the list for being the most expensive for healthcare. Parts of Minnesota and northwestern Pennsylvania are among the least expensive. This is apparently because they have a relatively low cost of living to begin with, plus plenty of competition among hospitals and doctors. Other areas good for low-cost health insurance include Tucson and Hawaii.
Colorado ski resort towns, the Connecticut suburbs of New York City or a bunch of otherwise low-cost rural regions of Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada, you have the misfortune of living in the most expensive insurance marketplaces under the new health law.
4. Turn off that TV
There have been a number of studies showing that for both adults and children, the more TV they watch, the higher their obesity rates. In addition, to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes for adults that watch a lot of television. This could be hard to believe but it’s also been found that cutting back on TV has actually helped people lose weight.
5. Add folic acid to your grocery list
According to the Disease Control Priorities Network at the University of Washington, there’s considerable evidence that if you take multivitamins with folic acid, you’ll reduce the risk of developing many different cancers.
6. Forget that annual checkup
Here’s something else that will seem counter intuitive. There isn’t much evidence that going to your doctor every year for a checkup leads to a longer life or better health outcomes. For that matter, there are a number of professional organizations that don’t recommend this practice any more. A yearly exam can lead to tests that come back with false positives, which can mean unnecessary follow-up tests and even procedures. Plus, these checkups can be expensive. If you don’t have a chronic condition or are sick, then going to see your doctor for an exam every two or three years should be sufficient.
7. Get a second opinion
Unfortunately, a considerable amount of research exists that showing that doctors often recommend and perform procedures that cost a lot, are invasive and painful, and don’t accomplish much. As an example of this, the New York Times reported recently that surgery for many conditions having to do with back pain yield modest benefits. As another example, ProPublica did an investigation that found that “stints for stable patients prevent zero heart attacks and extend the lives of patients a grand total of not at all.”
You might also get a second opinion if your doctor says you need to go on a medication indefinitely. The fact is that a diet or lifestyle change a could be a better answer. Do you take a cholesterol-lowering drug called a statin? A considerable amount of debate has been held in the medical community as to whether this actually does anything to improve health. However, there is absolutely no debate over the benefits of using diet and exercise to lower your cholesterol naturally.
If you’re concerned about the cost of your healthcare, relax. As you have read, there are six simple things you could do that would help you Improve your health, which will mean lower healthcare costs. And best of all, they either cost very little or nothing.