Your healthcare is something you should be in total control over. That isn’t to say you should forgo doctors altogether and make your own diagnoses – the professionals still know best. However, you shouldn’t totally give up the responsibility of your health to others. You can still have a say in the costs and the treatment that you choose. Here are some ways that we should all be taking control of our healthcare.
Monitor your health with tech
There are apps out there that can keeping up walking the right amount of steps and eating the right foods. Some gadgets can even warn us of potential health problems by monitoring our heart rate and blood pressure. Wearable tech is still in early stages, but government around the world are all in support of it as figures show it could save 60 per cent on the average cost of a patient. Future implants may even be able to scan the quality of our blood for illnesses such as diabetes, anaemia and mineral deficiencies.
Tailor your insurance plan
Health insurance can be a huge cost for some people, so much so that many people with low incomes are put off insurance plans altogether. The danger of this is then not being able to afford expensive but critical treatments.
Newer insurance plans are becoming more customisable so that you can save costs. This includes cutting out certain forms of treatment, raising deductible costs, taking out group insurance schemes and opting for no claims bonuses, all of which can lower health insurance rates. Your employer may even offer a scheme such as an FSA, which could save you more money than insurance whilst still giving you funds to use on medical treatment. Shop around to compare rates and find the best plan for you and your needs.
Shop around for treatment
Just as you can shop around for insurance schemes, you should also shop around for treatment. This could improve the quality of the treatment as well as the cost.
Everything from surgery to a basic scan varies in price from clinic to clinic, whilst some treatment centres may offer specialised care using better equipment and more qualified doctors. Waiting times can also vary across the country. Some people may even go abroad for treatment to improve quality in all these areas. Unless in an emergency, don’t just opt for your local hospital.
Similarly, you should always shop around for prescription meds. Big brands will always be more expensive and you may be able to find cheap drugs online or at a chemist that are just as effective. Always read reviews and check that the medication is legal before purchasing it.
Check your medical bills
A staggering 9 out of 10 people are believed to be overcharged when it comes to medical bills. Don’t just accept the figures on the bill – count them up to make sure you’re paying the right amount. You can usually request an itemised bill that breaks all the costs down. Your insurance company can also audit bills for you to check that they’ve charged the right amount. Make sure to check your insurance company is also paying up what was agreed in your original plan as errors can be made here too. Getting to know the billing team can also be a handy tip for preventing billing errors – they’ll feel the need to make a special effort minimising costs if they know you’re likely to ring up and complain.
Use an advocate
Advocates give power to those that don’t have it. When it comes to healthcare this could include deciding whether someone should have an operation if they’re unable to make that decision themselves. It can also mean working with those that can’t afford healthcare and helping to negotiate a payment plan that works for them. Not everyone can use an advocate service, but it’s worth looking into if you’re struggling to find a solution.
Ill and not your fault?
Some illnesses and injuries occur naturally. Other are our own doing. But then there are also cases where someone else is clearly to blame. In these cases, it can be worth looking into legal claims, so that you don’t have to pay for something that was clearly someone else’s fault.
Injuries through work are a common reason to file a lawsuit. If an employer hasn’t provided adequate health and safety measures and you’ve suffered an injury or got poisoned from chemicals as a result, this is a good reason to sue your employer. They will have insurance that covers this payment.
Medical malpractice may be another area where you could be eligible for a claim. If someone has given you a faulty drug, presented you with a dangerous misdiagnosis or created extra medical complications through surgery, you could be in your right to get compensation.
There are many review sites that can allow you to find the best solicitor for your case. You can usually get a quote so you can compare prices too.
Live a healthy lifestyle
By far the best way any of us can take control of our healthcare is by altering our lifestyle. The healthier we live, the less often we’ll have to visit the hospital. Some illnesses and injuries are beyond our control, but others can be the result of a bad diet, a lack of exercise, too much stress, drug use or other bad habits such as smoking or drinking.
When following diets or exercises regimes, make sure to do your research beforehand. Try various diet plans if you’re trying to lose weight – you may be able to get a free taster sessions of multiple dieting clubs, allowing you to form an opinion of the right club for you. Many gyms may also offer trial periods, just as personal trainers may offer the first session for free. Then of course there are all kinds of free dieting schemes and exercise plans that can be found on the web.