COVID-19 put U.S. health care in the spotlight this past year. Efforts to prioritize personal health and improve access to services and therapeutics hit an all-time high. Unfortunately, many Americans were left to navigate the often overburdened and complicated system alone.
According to a 2017 survey from Accenture, over half of U.S. consumers don’t understand how the country’s health care system works. That system has grown increasingly complex, so it’s not surprising that many find it confusing. If you must figure it out on your own, some planning can prevent your being overwhelmed by the process. Here are some tips to simplify your approach to health care so you save time and money:
1. Purchase Prescriptions Online
Prescription medication is most effective when taken at regular, specified intervals. When writing your prescription, your doctor will let you know exactly when and how often you should take the medicine. However, life can get busy, and you might run out of medication before you’re able to get a refill. You can avoid this problem by ordering your prescriptions online.
Getting your prescriptions online ensures that your next dose is available as soon as you need it. Better yet, your medication is delivered right to your door. No more trips to the pharmacy and waiting in line for 20 minutes for a refill that should take 30 seconds.
One of the most accessible prescriptions is birth control, which you can access from telehealth companies such as Nurx. Once you receive your first order, you’ll never want to go back to your in-person pharmacy again.
2. Maintain Accurate Health Records
You never know when a specific detail from your medical history will be important. You might recall your physician asking about your family’s medical history or the last time you took a certain medication. An exact answer will help them treat you more safely and effectively.
Maintaining accurate health records can be as easy as keeping a folder with all your medical information, including immunization records. Slide in any documentation you receive at appointments and write any additional notes that the forms don’t cover. Keep everything in chronological order, and you’ll easily find any information you need when you need it.
A smartphone app is another convenient way to keep all your health records up-to-date and on hand. Most smartphone health apps offer easy-to-navigate and safe experiences for the user. Just make sure your phone’s security is up to par, as you don’t want to share this information with bad actors on the internet.
3. Review Insurance Regularly
For good or ill, in the United States, your insurance plan is your lifeline for health care services. You may get your insurance through your employer, or perhaps you purchase it via the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Taking cost into account, you’ll want to identify the best insurance policy for your needs. These needs can change, so you should include an annual review of your insurance plan in your calendar.
A lot of things can happen in a year. You may get married, have a child, develop a severe illness, or simply need to adjust your budget. Each one of these life variables will alter the insurance plan that fits you best.
Having insurance that meets your specific needs can save you time and money when dealing with claims. Plus, by understanding your needs and exploring all your options, you’re more likely to find better rates.
4. Get Regular Check-Ups
Think about what a chore it is to clean up your house. Deep cleaning takes so much time and energy that it can become frustrating. No wonder people tend to push it off until it becomes a huge undertaking.
How much easier it is to clean the house when you do regular, preventative maintenance. Following a laundry schedule, washing dishes right after meals, and picking up nightly will make periodic deep cleans less taxing. Life is much easier when you stay on top of a task instead of letting it build up.
The same can be said for your physical health. If you deprioritize your health, you’re just asking for an emergency to provide an unwelcome wakeup call. While you can get back on track after a health scare, don’t let it come to that. Schedule regular check-ups with health care providers to stay healthy and avoid serious illness and expensive hospital bills.
5. Keep an Emergency Fund
Sometimes, a health emergency will occur, and you’ll have to foot the bill. You can prepare yourself for the worst by keeping an emergency fund at all times. This ensures that money is not an additional stressor, and you can focus on regaining your health.
An excellent way to set money aside for medical needs is to open a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA). These are personal savings accounts that are specifically used for medical expenses. Contributions are tax-free, and many employers will even match contributions as part of their benefits program.
The key difference between the two is that an HSA is controlled by the individual. An FSA, on the other hand, is owned by the employer and is less flexible than its counterpart. There are pros and cons to each, so do your research to see which option fits you best.
6. Get Healthy, Stay Healthy
No amount of pills will be as beneficial as controlling your diet, getting sufficient exercise, and establishing healthy habits. If you want to easily manage your health care, do whatever it takes to keep yourself healthy.
You can start by ditching bad habits such as smoking and overeating. Make an effort to exercise regularly and drink plenty of water. Each good habit you acquire will put your health in a much better position in the long run.
Of course, even the healthiest individuals can experience illness and injury beyond their control. However, those who make healthy lifestyle choices in conjunction with proper medical care often heal and recover faster.
Dealing with health concerns and issues is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can make the process more straightforward and bearable by practicing these six tips. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped for any health care need that comes your way.