You may not think about how your health and healthcare decisions affect your financial wellbeing beyond the issues of how much you pay for health insurance and what you have to pay out of your own pocket for your deductible and copays. But there are a number of other ways that your health can have an impact on your finances:
- A serious or chronic illness can cause you to miss a significant amount of time from work, which can result in lost income.
- Misdiagnosis or inappropriate treatment can lead to disability or premature death, which can cause you or your family to lose needed income.
- If you are diagnosed with a chronic condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or a life-threatening illness or injury, you could face continuing high out-of-pocket costs for treatment and medications to manage your condition.
How to take control of your health and protect your financial wellbeing
There are three key factors that can help you gain more control over your health and healthcare decisions:
- Information and support to make informed medical decisions: Making medical decisions can be a complex process. If you’re diagnosed with a serious illness, your first step should be to seek a second opinion on your diagnosis and the recommended treatment approach. You also need objective, evidence-based information on the condition you face, available treatment options, and which physicians and hospitals have the experience and training needed to deliver the most effective and appropriate care. There are several ways you can gather the information you need to make an informed decision, including talking with your physician, working with a case manager, and enlisting the support of a personal health advisor.
- Timely access to care and resources. When you’re facing a serious health problem, it’s important to get access to the care and resources you need quickly. A health advisor can help you get expedited access to specialists who can both provide second opinions and deliver care. This can be especially important if you live in an area where there are long waits to see a specialist or a shortage of physicians. An advisor can also gather, compile, and review your complete electronic medical record so that all the physicians you see have instant access to your medical history and all testing and treatments you undergo, which can help lower the risk of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment.
- Knowing and managing your personal health risks. When you know your family and personal health history, you can take the needed steps to understand and manage the health risks you may face. You and your physician can build a proactive health risk management plan, which can lower your risk of developing preventable health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and back pain. It may also help you catch serious illnesses at their earliest stages when they are often more treatable through a personalized plan of appropriate screenings.
To start taking control of your health and protecting your physical and financial wellbeing, learn more about managing your personal health risks by downloading our free white paper.Download Now