The cost of health insurance and healthcare is growing and has been for a long time; but what can be done? First, let’s understand that the health insurance industry is very complicated and unlikely to be accurately summarized in a short article. The topic can be broken down into so many segments, each of which deserves its own time and attention. Few segments are as important as the concept of affordability. Without affordability, health insurance begins to lose its value and is capable of serving less people.
The concept of affordability is no simple matter. Analyzing Medical Loss Ratios and actuarial values is a task performed by some of the best and brightest the insurance companies have to offer. There’s no question these professionals have earned a seat at the table when discussing the cost of health insurance.
When looking beyond the highly publicized drivers of health insurance costs, there are a few much more simple concepts that can have significant impact on the affordability of health insurance in North Carolina and the entire country. These are ways consumers can help in the fight to lower healthcare spending and health insurance premiums.
- Eat Healthy and Exercise Regularly: There is no shortage of available information about healthy diets and exercise. Positive Health Wellness is a great resource for ideas that can help us live healthier lifestyles and feel better as a result. Large insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina have been open about concerns regarding the health status of so many insured members. This has initiated the insurance company to become more active in paving the way for their member to live healthier lifestyles.
- Take advantage of preventive care doctor visits: Most health insurance plans have coverage for services like routine physicals and screenings. Typically, these visits are covered at 100%. Utilizing these covered services may help identify potential illnesses before they become more severe.
- Use the Emergency Room for Emergencies: BCBSNC has found that a very large percentage of emergency room visits are for non-emergency situation that could have been handled in a Primary Care Doctors Office or an Urgent Care facility. Emergency Rooms are often one of the most expensive places to seek care. Emergency Rooms serve an important purpose and are recommended for certain situations. However, it’s important to make sure this is the best place to be seen based on the circumstances.
Understanding that we all have some control of the cost of health insurance can change the conversation. The recommendations listed don’t provide an immediate fix to the on-going problems but they can certainly contribute to a solution.