No one has to tell you how expensive healthcare has become in the United States.
It’s one of the biggest talking points now and probably will be for a long time.
A 2015 study found that the United States spends more on healthcare than any other country. And it’s not just more… it’s a lot more! It’s the type of system that leaves individuals bankrupt or families torn because they’re out of care options for their loved ones.
Unfortunately, we’re not looking at these costs coming down anytime soon outside of sweeping policy changes and a major shift in the healthcare industry, but we’ve got options.
What We Can Do About High Healthcare Costs
There are only two avenues:
· Find cheaper alternatives
· Demand changes by voting
Let’s explore how we can put these into action.
The emergency room is often a catch-all for those experiencing pains and ailments. Often, plenty of these people don’t need to be there – which creates delays and spikes costs.
If it’s serious, don’t take a risk. Get to the hospital.
But, there are plenty of options for keeping overall health costs low. We can potentially eliminate many issues altogether through proactive actions:
· Healthier Lifestyles – Includes diet & exercise to reduce heart and immune system problems caused by obesity and malnutrition.
· Comparison Shopping – Use tools like Lowest Med that will find local pharmacies offering steep discounts for common medications while providing coupons and a discount card.
· Relaxing – Remove the stressors that are making us irate and spiking our blood pressure through breathing exercise, meditation, therapy, or disconnecting.
· Walk-Ins – Placing trust in the local doctors and dealing with the wait times to receive proper care for common ailments versus taking on huge hospital bills.
· Regular Checkups – To learn and understand what we can do to improve our health or identify problems early on, so treatment is affordable before it becomes critical and expensive.
A societal shift toward healthier lifestyles and proactive solutions will reduce how much the healthcare has it stacked against us.
Healthcare lobbying is one of the major price influencers.
There are 2,724 lobbyists currently influencing the industry according to data collected from OpenSecrets.org. Companies spent over half a billion dollars in 2016 and it’s on a similar projection for 2017 (and beyond).
These individuals are often those swinging votes in favor of legislation that aligns with their employers.
Their influence is seen in areas like:
· Healthcare reform
· Prescription drug use
· Insurance coverage
Not all of them are the boogeyman but many use their status and financial donations to influence our elected officials – often in their favor.
What needs to change?
Responsibility and commitment on the behalf of our elected officials. A demand from the people that’s met by a steadfast decision to remain with their principles and campaign promises.
Do this: Call your representative and demand they stand behind you and not the lobbying industry.
It May Seem Futile, but There is Hope
It sucks being overwhelmed by medical bills. It sucks knowing you don’t have the coverage you need or deserve. It sucks that our healthcare system is so expensive compared to others.
We must be vigilant.
It means we must take care of health to reduce those hospital visits. Personal responsibility, using our negotiation skills, and saving ahead are all great ways to save on medical bills. It also means using these tense moments and directing that energy to keep our representatives in line.
The healthcare industry and its costs do look grim but at least we have options.
What do you think about this whole mess? How do you save on your healthcare costs?