Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Healthy Living in a Sick Economy

With the economy in a state of decline, it is difficult for many Americans to afford health care. Visits to doctors are down 10 percent to 15 percent and many individuals are not taking their medicines as prescribed. However, there are certain measures that can be taken to lessen the burden while facing tough economic times.

Approximately one in nine individuals is cutting pills, taking them every other day or doing something the doctor did not recommend, according to Dr. Mark Fendrick of the University of Michigan Medical School. Fendrick says, “Cutting back on health care without consulting your clinician is a very risky decision. It may not only have an impact on your health, but also have a worsening economic consequence that will lead to greater costs down the road when minor health concerns become major health issues.”

There are affordable programs available to help individuals facing economic difficulties. Ask your doctor’s office or search online for information about decreasing or eliminating the costs of health insurance and prescription medications.

During an economic crisis, individuals with and without insurance tend to use the emergency room as a form of primary care. However, doing so could take a spot from someone who truly needs emergency care, while also compromising your own care.

“You should really think about going to your primary care physician who knows your medical history, coordinates your follow up care and interacts with other doctors to make sure you’re getting the highest quality care possible at the lowest cost,” says Fendrick.

While the economy is forcing individuals to make difficult choices Fendrick puts it in perspective: “Remember your health is your most important asset, not your money.”

Tips for healthy health care spending:

1. Continue to adopt healthy lifestyles: diet and exercise can help stave off many diseases.
2. Ask your doctor if prescription medications are available in generic forms.
3. Keep up-to-date with recommended screening tests, such as mammograms, colonoscopies or immunizations.

Information provided by Newswise


Tracy Lewis said...

Is sad to see so many risking their health just because they cant afford it!

Xavierism said...

Great post! As a Cancer survivor, I've learned that one's health is the most important factor in one's life. Without it, we're doomed. I've always suggested to friends that one mustn't wait if we believe something is not quite right with our bodies. Longer one waits, the more expensive things could get not to mention that one's health may be in danger.

Again, great blog post filled with tips for everyone and those going through hard times.


Eileen said...

It's a sad state of affairs that our country is the last in the industrialized world to not provide universal healthcare for its citizens. Although the economy is hurting in every sector, I truly hope that the incoming administration can get a handle on healthcare. It's a travesty that people are foregoing necessary medication because they can't afford it. Let's hope and pray that things get better soon.

Melodieann said...

After paying $368 dollars just for glasses so I can see, I'm still in shock. And that's with insurance. Without it they would have cost almost $1000! I know other sectors of healthcare are just as expensive. If my father had not lived with me so he did not have to pay for food and housing, he would not have been able to afford the medication necessary just to live. I agree, Eileen. It's time something was done so hard-working people like my dad don't have to choose between food or medication, heat or a doctor visit.