Can you afford to be sick next year?

By Adrianne Delgado, RD, LDN

This time of the year can really hit your pockets. Never mind the additional money spent on going out to eat, holiday entertainment, or purchasing the perfect gift for loved ones. I’m talking deeper than that. I’m going straight for the jugular. I’m talking about… health insurance and coverage.

It’s open enrollment season. As a self-employed business owner, that means our family has to purchase our own plan. Because of rising health care costs, we recently shopped the marketplace (formerly known as Obamacare) to find the most affordable plan. Having five kids means health insurance is necessary. This year, after filling out the standard forms, our monthly premium will increase by almost $800. And that is for the most basic of all basic plans. No frills, no dental, no vision. Not a total, but an increase of $800 more a month will buy us a higher copay and deductible plan. If we want to stay at the middle of the road plan we had this current year, we can expect to shell out almost $1000 more per month starting in January 2019. 

This isn’t a post to cry woe is me. Quite the opposite, actually. This post is a wake-up call for all of us to get off our butts and start taking control of our health. You may not carry the burden of paying for your entire health insurance plan, but my guess is you are paying a larger portion than before for a lot less coverage. I honestly do not know how people with several prescriptions or those who see multiple physicians every month can afford it. Our current health care system has major flaws. (Let me be clear: this is not a post about government, and I don’t intend to entertain political banter.) I hear more and more people come into my office, neglecting doctor appointments because they can’t afford the co-pays and out-of-pocket fees. Remember, these people have health insurance!

Our family puts a lot of effort into cooking healthy foods, finding ways to move our bodies, and getting enough sleep every night. My kids constantly complain, “Why can’t we grab pizza and go to Chic-fil-a like everyone else?” or “Why can’t we buy school lunch every day?” The answer is really simple! If health care continues in the direction it is currently heading, I will do everything I can to set up my children for success when they are adults by creating good habits today.

So what does that mean for you? For me? For all of us? First, let’s look at the positives of most health insurance plans at this time. Most insurance plans do cover nutrition counseling in an effort to reduce medical bills and doctor visits. I urge you to take advantage of this service to help you deflect future costs down the road. If you are currently working hard to make healthier choices, that’s great! I’m so excited for you and wish you much success. But if you need a little more guidance or a total overhaul, we’re here for you too! We have many patients who lead healthy lives and check in from time to time to make sure they are meeting all of their nutritional needs. We have others who come in to educate themselves on current recommendations and get new food and recipe ideas. Some patients are currently working hard to make lifestyle changes with a goal to reduce, if not eliminate, medications. It does happen and is very possible and worth a try. We provide a bridge from where you are currently at and where you want to go using only foods you buy at the grocery store. We will never sell you supplements or convince you to try the latest fad diet in an effort to lose weight quickly only to rebound 6 months later because the diet failed you.  We have too much integrity and are ridiculously invested in your health and well being. We do what we do because we care about our patients and because we want the best for them. It’s that simple.

As your holiday shopping for loved ones this year, it’s common to purchase a gift or two for yourself along the way. Perhaps 2019 is the year you invest in the gift of health for yourself and your family. And if it is, we would be honored to walk the journey with you.

Adrianne Delgado, RD, LDN
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