5 health movements that can save women the most money

Healthcare costs are constantly growing, so it is so important to stay healthy and prevent costly problems. Here are the best moves you can make.

During covid, our health care concerns were taken to a new level. Millions of women were sickly worried about how to protect themselves, their parents, children, spouses and loved ones. And unfortunately, far too many of our “regular” health checks fell during this time. Millions of Americans put their regular medical maintenance on ice, with fewer mammograms, blood tests, gynecological visits and so much more. (Because we did not just want to sit in the offices of German doctors, in many cases our doctors were simply closed for months.)

Now that things are opening up and we are making up for lost time with some of our regular doctor visits, it is a good time for us to take a breath and think about how we can improve our health and save money. Because the price of healthcare, like everything else nowadays, is on the rise. Between 2019 and 2020, per capita health expenditure in the United States increased by 10%, greater than the increases in Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. (And the annual health expenditure per capita in the United States is now almost $ 12,000 – and we already knew it was outrageous, but in that context it is more than twice as much as what we see in other comparable countries.)

To take some action that will save women’s health and help save women’s money, we checked with Dr. Stacey Rosen, Senior Vice President of Women’s Health at Northwell Health, American Heart Associations 2021 Physician of the Year and co-author of the new book Heart Smarter – A 6-week plan for a healthier heart.

First, find a doctor you trust

It may sound obvious, but Rosen emphasizes that the single most important thing a woman can do for her health is to find a doctor with whom she can develop a lifelong relationship. “It can be a gynecologist when you are younger, or an internist or a family doctor,” she says, “but so many chronic conditions can be prevented or at least managed if you have a single doctor who is kind of the captain of your ship and you can “Building a trusting relationship is very important.”

With that said, there is none best doctors, Rosen emphasizes, and choices can be limited by the type and quality of health insurance you have, but that should not stop a woman from finding a doctor she trusts. Women have long had their symptoms ignored or simply felt unheard or misunderstood by their doctors. (We know women’s pain is routinely underestimated, and gender stereotypes are to blame). It is important to keep looking until you can find a doctor who listens to you and who will join you in a conversation about your health, without judgment or bias.

Focus on the things you can handle

Increase your activity level. (You may have stopped going to the gym or running as much during covid, but it’s time to get back to your routine.) Make healthier food choices. (Again, we ordered a lot of takeaways during the pandemic … by cutting down you will save money and calories.) By now, we also know the importance of getting enough sleep and avoiding stress where possible.

“You can not change your genes,” says Rosen, “but the choices you make every day, which do not all cost money, are crucial. When it comes to physical activity, we know that people who exercise more reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. maintains brain health and cognition later in their adult lives. For women, their bone health improves. “

Rosen says that expensive gym memberships or stylish home equipment are not necessary for the health benefits of moving more. “You really just have to go.”

“The same thing is true food choices,” she says. “It does not have to be organic or nice, but fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains. Smart food choices are extremely important for maintaining health and alleviating chronic diseases. “

And do not forget to rest. “We have always been a society that is driven hard,” she says. “We used to brag about how little sleep we needed. But in the last ten years or so, we’ve seen a lot of science that shows the health benefits of getting enough sleep – six to eight hours – and not considering it a luxury. ”

The last lifestyle change, and the one that can be the most difficult to control, is stress. “But mindfulness and meditation are free,” she says. “And there are free apps – do a daily meditation or listen to a relaxing podcast. Spending time with friends or volunteering has also been shown to minimize stress and prolong life.”

Prevention is the key

Finding out something before it becomes a costly problem is also a great way to stay healthier and save money. Rosen recommends preventive strategies, whether it is a cancer screening or tests for heart health, diabetes or high blood pressure.

A trusted doctor will not send you for unnecessary tests, but if there is anything unusual you would like to check out, this is where you can use your medical and / or family history to determine where you may be at risk – then just ask them tests you want. “It is important to know the appropriate tests to optimize health,” says Rosen.

Be a good patient

Being a good patient means more than just showing up for your appointment on time. It’s time to dump her and move on.

“To be a good patient is also to be a self-advocate,” says Rosen. “Come to your visit prepared, with pads and paper. Ask your doctor if you can record the conversation if you are worried that you will miss or forget something. Sometimes people go to a doctor’s surgery and take off their clothes, put on wear a dress and forget that they are adults.If you are hearing impaired or do not focus well on a doctor’s appointment, bring someone to stay for the consultation.And if a doctor does not explain something to you so that you understand, you may ask again: “I did not understand what you meant by atherosclerosis, Doctor. Can you explain to me what it is? An authorized patient is a better patient. And strengthening yourself is free.”

Also, try to know as many numbers and facts about your health as you can, before you go.

“Learning to be a good patient will help you get the most out of your relationship with your doctor. This means keeping a log of your previous medical history, your family’s medical history, the medications you have taken and take now, any side effects you may have had, all the surgeries you have undergone, tests you have had, your vaccinations, your pharmacy numbers and more, says Rosen. Just keep it in a folder or in an app on your phone. not only will it be ready for your doctor, it will also be handy if you should end up in an emergency one day.)

Understand your insurance

If you have health insurance, try to understand what it pays for and what it does not do before you start visiting a doctor – the last thing you want is for a basic trip to a primary care physician to leave you with a large out-of-pocket cost. Also, make sure that your trusted doctors are aware of your insurance and your financial situation – they may be able to avoid a particular test that is not covered, or prescribe a generic drug instead of a brand name drug.

If you have elective surgery, work with your doctor to have it done after you have reached your annual deductible. And if your employer allows it, consider a health savings account (HSA) if you know you will have annual medical expenses at a certain level.

And if you do not have insurance (or if you are between insurances) first, get coverage as soon as humanly possible. If you have to pay out of pocket for certain things, make it clear to your doctor or to the facility that gives you a test that you are uninsured and pay for yourself. Maybe you can reduce that $ 150 office visit to $ 80 … It never hurts to ask. (Getting paid through insurance companies can be very time consuming and slow, especially for understaffed surgeries. Even a specialist may be willing to take a break if you are willing to pay in cash or write a check.)

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