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Tired of paying higher health insurance costs in Storm Lake?
Storm Lake Iowa: Opinion Editorial
This week I want to share some thoughts on a national topic of discussion that is affecting us here in Storm Lake, Iowa.
Health care costs
According to a recent study released by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Health insurance and care cost are going to continue to increase.
“Currently the State and Federal government fund 43% of all health care costs in the U.S. and is expected to rise to 47% by 2024.”
Stop and think about that for a moment.
Let’s set our politics aside for a moment, take a deep breath and examine this trend.
The overall average age of people in the U.S. continues to rise.
Health care costs are projected to increase at 5+% per year.
Insurance premiums and deductibles are rising.
Is their any good projected onto this health care trend?
There is a chance increased costs will encourage…
1. Government to become more efficient.
2. Providers and hospitals to cut waste.
Admittedly, both of these are options, but their effects are arguably minimal.
I do not believe the worse of these increased costs remains the more likely possibility of…
2. Rationing of health care, shortage of providers, increased waiting times, which leads to delayed diagnosis and treatment.
We are starting to see a shift in health care in America today and unfortunately it is headed in this direction.
According to a recent USA Today article.
Deductible health insurance costs are rising and middle class wages are stagnant.
“Nearly half of middle-class workers skipped health care services or fell into financial hardship because of health expenses, according to a survey by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.”
“The average hourly wage is nearly identical to what it was 50 years ago in today’s dollars: $19.18 in 1964 compared with $20.67 in 2014, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor data analyzed by the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, U.S. health spending ballooned from 5% of gross domestic product in 1960 to 17% in 2013.”
Is this system sustainable?
We will see in the coming years.
I wanted to share these articles with you not to scare you, but to make you more aware.
Awareness means we can start to understand the problem and make strides to fix these problems.
What can we do to help decrease the costs of health care in America today?
One of the best things we can do is make a better effort to improve our overall health and well-being.
How well do you eat?
Do you exercise and if so, how often?
Do you take time every day for yourself to take a mental break and “destress”?
Eating right, exercising and maintaining a good mental attitude is not a destination, it is a process.
We can do these things everyday to make an effort to improve our health and well-being.
Not sure where to start?
Keep it simple, pick one of the three activities above and commit to doing it every day for 1 month.
For example, exercise.
Make a commitment to take a 15-30 minute walk every day, no matter what.
Take a walk?
Consider this part of your mental break for the day as well.
Once you complete the walk give yourself a small reward, such as some extra television time or a small piece of chocolate.
Notice I said small reward, not 8 hours of binge-watching Breaking Bad and a gallon of ice cream. : ))
Also, put up a calendar on the fridge for the month.
One you complete this one task of walking place a “red X” on the day.
Stay focused to keep the streak going for at least 30 days.
If you think you might fall off then get a friend to hold you accountable.
If you miss more than one day then agree to do something you absolutely hate doing.
Maybe agree to clean your friends house, wash their car or other such activity.
Choose wisely, if it isn’t bad enough it will not be a good (negative) incentive for you.
At the end of that 30 days re-evaluate, see how you feel and decide if you want to continue.
You do not need an expensive gym membership, you do not even need to purchase any equipment.
You simply need to put one foot infant of the other and take a walk.
No, this will not fix the health care problems we mentioned above, but it will go a long way towards helping to improve your well-being and keep your own health care costs lower.
Think what would happen if we all took a daily walk.
Until next time, have a great week and enjoy your walk.
Dr. Tim Redenbaugh