When you consider healthcare benefits, seems the only people benefitting are the ones selling health insurance. Deductibles are high. Premiums are high. And waiting times in the doctor’s office seem to get longer. Add to that the hassle of leaving work to see a doctor, or packing up the kids in the middle of the night because one of them has a fever.
The problem with Health insurance is our mindset.
Too many of us think of health insurance as income, somebody else to pay our medical bills. If that were the case, insurance companies wouldn’t exist. We have to take a more holistic approach. We have to take responsibility for our own health. And we have to size up the investments we make in our health, including insurance.
The ROI on seeing a doctor.
Let’s say it’s flu season. You get a free flu shot, good for you. That’s a start. But you get sick anyway. So what is the best way to minimize expenses during your sickness? First, cut down on the cost of the doctor visit. On average a visit is $175. Next, cut down on the time missed at work, especially if you’re self-employed. And lastly, cut out the cost of a follow-up visit entirely. If you can do all three of these things, your medical ROI goes up: you get better and you pay less for it.
Health insurance and doctor visits will always be an expense.
Telemedicine is a good way to cut down on the cost of visits. Of course, if you break your leg, go to the emergency room. But if you have a rash, or your feeling overwhelmed and need to talk to somebody, or you have a cough that keeps you up at night, why not use your phone for 20 minutes at a cost of about $30?
Privacy is a big concern.
Technology has now moved to the center of our lives. And with it, the copious amount of data companies collect on each of us and store in central data centers. It’s hard to scan the headlines without seeing another hack of epic proportions. The risks are real and the damage is real. Trusting insurance providers and healthcare services with our data is a concern. Companies are taking steps to protect our privacy, but the system isn’t perfect. What makes more sense is each individual having control over their medical data so it can be stored securely off a central data cloud and where individuals can decide for themselves what data they want to share.
Our health and wellbeing are up to us. We choose our lifestyle—diet, the amount of exercise we get, how we deal with stress. The way we manage doctor visits are also within our control—emergencies versus routine visits that can be solved with a phone call. We need to shift our perspective from one of blindly following the system, to looking for solutions that better serve our situation. As we do so, we will meet the challenges in healthcare with more confidence, and with better results.