Four Ways to Help Address Health Expenses
The drivers of health care costs are certainly myriad and complex, but there are some things we can do to help get rid of unnecessary care and expenses, and improve our overall health. Below are different ways we can get healthier while addressing some drivers of health care costs.
Make informed health care choices
Did you know a typical emergency room costs at least five times more than an office visit? A phone call to your doctor before getting care at an urgent care center or emergency room can help avoid costly and unnecessary bills. Some health plans offer telephone or online consultations with physicians. Independent Health offers Teladoc, which gives members access to a physician by phone or mobile app anytime, anywhere.
Services at free-standing facilities typically cost less than hospital-based services facilities. Ask your physician if you can have a pre-planned test done at a freestanding facility instead of a hospital.
A national campaign,
, spearheaded by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, is a great resource for consumers in learning how to make better informed choices and decisions.
Two: Be proactive – Schedule your annual preventive visit and preventive screenings.
Staying up-to-date on preventive visits and screenings can avoid harmful and costly conditions so it’s helpful to have a primary doctor you trust and see on a regular basis. Preventive services are covered in full: Independent Health covers more than 60 preventive services with no cost share.
Three: Get a flu shot
Ask your physician about getting a flu shot. Flu shots are even offered at a variety of locations in the community, or at work.
Four: Become more physically active.
It’s easier than you think to become more physically active: try parking farther away from your work entrance, or take the stairs instead of elevators. Exercising more and eating better can also help reduce systolic blood pressure, which can cut the risk for heart attacks and stroke.
And, Plus One: Quit Smoking (or for the majority of us: don’t start)
About 15 percent of the population still smokes. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing for your health. There are ways that make quitting smoking easier. Contact your health plan or the
New York State Smokers’ Quitline
to learn more.
Many chronic illnesses are preventable, and healthy lifestyles play a big role in this. Some of the steps toward wellness are more difficult to take than others, but many health plans offer help in making steps to wellness. Independent Health offers a variety of options to help members make healthier choices, such as our nutrition benefit; FitWorks Wellness program; Zipongo®, a digital platform that makes it easier to cook and choose healthier meals; and Brook Health Companion, which provides personalized health support through a mobile platform.
Whether it’s taking a daily walk, or scheduling a preventive visit with your doctor, the choices we make can help us get healthier in the long run.