A New Approach For A New Year

by | Jan 4, 2012 | Employee Benefits, Health Insurance

So, we all know that being healthy is beneficial for a whole host of different reasons—from reducing stress, to looking and feeling better about yourself, to having more energy to get you through the day’s trials and tribulations.  But, can living a healthy lifestyle save you money?  Believe it or not, YES!  Leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce your health insurance premiums and will reduce your health insurance claims throughout the course of a year.  Now I know that this is hard to believe—so let’s talk about why and how this is the case. 

The majority of people obtain health insurance through their employer-sponsored plans, and with that comes either underwriting, (which is essentially someone from an insurance company rating the group based on each individuals health) or experience rating (Which is looking at the groups past health insurance claims and coming to a rate based off of the group as a whole).  That being said, health insurers are either looking at your individual health, by way of the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) reports (yes, this exists), or insurers are looking at the past few years’ worth of claims for your group and rating you based on those cumulative numbers.  So needless to say, your lifestyle choices play a monumental role in how you’re perceived by health insurers. 

Research indicates that seventy-five percent of health insurance claims are lifestyle related, that means that seventy-five percent of what you pay annually for prescriptions, doctors visits, etcetera- could be avoided.  In addition to this, an overwhelming amount (70-80%) of the four main chronic diseases; (colon cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes) are all preventable to some degree.  Let’s just let all those facts sink in for a moment…Alright, now that I’ve got your attention—you’re probably saying: “How do I fix this?!” The answer is a simple and familiar—exercise and watch what you eat. 

Now, I know you were hoping for a magic solution, but simply not taking the easy way out will allow you to save yourself thousands of dollars in future medical claims.  While the money-saving is fantastic, you’ll live longer too.  So, get out there and make some minor changes to your lifestyle.  Take the stairs instead of an elevator, exercise a few times a week, eat smaller portions of the things that you enjoy (Because, let’s be honest here, who wants to diet?).   Trust me, your wallet, and more importantly, your body will thank you in the long run.


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