Friday, February 22, 2008

Frugal Friday - Reduce Medical Costs

My Frugal Friday tip is to reduce medical costs (now and/or in the future) by striving towards a healthier lifestyle.

I am thankful to be living in a country where medical care is easily accessible, where medical technology is advanced and where some of the best doctors and medical experts reside.

But...I do not like the high cost of medical insurance (I lived most of my life in Canada where medical care was "free" - but then again, you got what you paid for).

I do not like being sick. I do not like visiting the doctor. Ditto visiting the dentist. It can be an unpleasant experience, it can be painful, it can be stressful and it costs money! I don't mind spending money on pleasurable pursuits - but paying for pain isn't my idea of money well spent!

How can you and I potentially reduce our medical costs? Two words - diet and exercise. Sure we all know that we ought to eat better and exercise more for the benefit of good health - but for all you Frugalites out there - maybe it's time to think of it from a financial perspective too.

When I say "diet" I don't mean going on a diet - but having healthy eating habits. By "exercise" I don't mean the things you hear or read in books like, "When you are at the mall, park your car far away from the entrance so that you have to walk a bit further and get some exercise - or take the stairs instead of the elevator." Sure those things are good - but if that's all you are going to do - it's not going to make a lick of difference. By "exercise" I mean doing something daily or even every other day - that makes you sweat, that makes your heart race, that makes you tired out, that makes you feel fit!

Being sick can be expensive... a trip to the doctor...a trip to the pharmacy...a trip to see a specialist recommended by your doctor - it adds up pretty quickly. But the cost is nothing in comparison to surgery to clean out clogged arteries. Or the cost of being on daily medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc.

Diet and exercise isn't always the answer - you can eat well, exercise daily, run marathons and still end up with cancer. You can eat well, exercise daily, run marathons and still end up falling down the stairs, breaking your neck and ending up paralyzed. You can eat well, exercise daily, run marathons and then visit a 3rd World Country, get bit by an insect and contract a fatal illness. You can eat well, exercise daily, run marathons and die in a car crash.

Those are all things we cannot control and we are not responsible for things we cannot control.

But if there is something we can control, that would considerably decrease our chances of heart disease, or high blood pressure or diabetes - shouldn't we do it? The rewards are two-fold...a healthier body and money saved.

From The American Heart Association website, "Better food habits can help you reduce your risk for heart attack." They also say, "Physical inactivity, along with cigarette smoking, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, is one of the major modifiable risk factors for heart attack. There is no guarantee that you won't get heart disease, but you'll reduce your chance of heart disease if you avoid the risk factors."

For more Frugal Friday tips - visit Crystal at Biblical Womanhood.


My Ice Cream Diary said...

Thank you for saying this. I agree all the way. Prevention is so much better than a prescription.