Healthcare premiums are on the rise and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Since 2003, premiums have increased by 43 percent. The average family health care plan currently costs $15,745 a year, an 8 percent cost increase since last year alone.
With the healthcare reform law enacted in 2010, seniors are being forced to pay more for their prescription drugs through Medicare Part D coverage.
Costs for this plan have increased by 13 percent. By 2020, health care costs were expected to be the single largest budget item for the U.S., surpassing even national defense spending.
As a result of these ever-increasing premiums, women should take any necessary steps to reduce their insurance premiums, including:
1. Avoid Hypertension
The top cause of preventable death in the United States is high blood pressure. It is recommended that all women help lower their blood pressure levels through regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet whenever possible. More than half of all women develop high blood pressure during their lifetime.
Women should consider their Medicare options if diagnosed with high blood pressure. The Medicare Advantage plan and the Part D Prescription Drug coverage may be a better option for women who suffer from high blood pressure.
2. Eat More Fiber
Women should regularly replenish their bodies with fiber, which helps the body maintain a healthy digestive system. The average American woman only has 15 grams of fiber in her daily diet.
Since fiber absorbs water, it keeps the stools soft and reduces constipation. A lack of dietary fiber can also lead to other health problems such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
3. Do Not Drink Or Smoke
At least 12 percent of women in the United States currently smoke, which is about 21 million women. The estimates are that over 13 million of those women will die from a smoking-related disease. It is recommended that women stop smoking as soon as possible to help reduce their healthcare expenses.
Drinking alcohol is also dangerous. Women are more susceptible to the harmful effects of alcohol since they have less body water in their system to dilute the drink. Women who drink are at a higher risk of developing liver diseases, nerve damage, heart problems, stroke, depression, and breast cancer.
4. Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
According to the National Institutes of Health, most women do not get enough exercise daily. Women who do regular exercises have a greater chance of not developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Regular exercise also helps keep cholesterol levels in check.
Exercise has many benefits to a woman’s mental health too. A woman’s diet also plays a significant role in helping her reduce health care expenses
Women should aim to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like tuna and salmon, poultry without the skin, low-fat dairy products, lean meat choices such as bison or venison instead of beef, beans for protein sources.
5. Get Regular Screenings
It is essential for women to regularly get a complete check-up from their doctors, even if they feel great. Early detection of many diseases can save them from further health complications and more severe illnesses later in life.
Women should also take advantage of the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, a comprehensive health assessment that identifies risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In addition to participating in wellness visits, women should consult their doctors about other preventative screenings to identify medical issues early on.
6. Discuss/Research Individual Health Plan Risks/Claims
Many women are unaware of how much they could save if they switch to another individual health insurance plan or retiree coverage. Women should regularly shop around to see if other plans can better fit their budget.
It is ideal for them to find a plan that covers the services they need but does not include unnecessary amenities or medications that are not covered. Women should also compare the deductibles and co-pays between plans to determine which one is most cost-effective.
There are various ways women can reduce their healthcare premiums without sacrificing the care they need. By eating more fiber, quitting smoking, exercising regularly, leading a healthy lifestyle, getting regular screenings, and discussing with their doctor about individual plan options or possible alternatives to Medicare/Medicaid, they will be able to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses.