I have four core values/areas of importance in my life – family, health, integrity and lifestyle. My family are the most important part of my life. Without my health I can’t enjoy life and don’t get to have the lifestyle we want. I see many people say it is expensive to eat health, pay for a gym membership, basically look after themselves. They use health insurance as a fallback option to help when their health bottoms out, however there are so many ways to save money while living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of yourself. Don’t use health insurance only in health emergency. Take care of yourself with the tips in this article, save money and maximise your health insurance.
When I got divorced one of the first things I got was health insurance. I wanted to know that no matter what, my daughters and I could get the treatment we needed as soon as we needed it. Last year, I ended up needing a lot of treatment which would have cost a fortune if I didn’t have health insurance.
Health insurance rates are set to rise by an average of 5.6% on April 1st, for my health insurance that bumps my premiums up by $180 a year. Here is how you can beat that plus save money on other areas of health.
1.) Compare, switch and save
I recently did a comparison, as did a few of my friends and family members to see if we are all on the best rate. I do it regularly to make sure I am getting the best deal possible. So far, for the past 4 years I have always been on the best deal and no one could match it.
Compare your health insurance and make sure you are getting the best deal!
Total savings: most people I know saved at least $300 when they switched, some even more.
2.) Lock in your rate now
Once you have your health insurance policy, pay it up front to avoid the rate rise in April. By paying that lump sum you lock in your rate for 12 months. Yes, the premium will be more next year when you go to renew, but you save yourself that money right now.
Total savings: will vary based on your premium, I saved $180.
3.) Check your health/lifestyle score
Go online and do a comparison to see how healthy your lifestyle is, what changes you can make to improve your lifestyle, how old your health age is and find tips relevant to you.
I did this a few years ago when getting divorced and scored pretty much my age (it said 26, I was 27) and was given advice on how to reduce it by up to 7 years. I did the test again this morning and am now 22 with a few tweaks I could drop to 20. After such a horrific year for health last year I have actively worked to improve my health.
With these tests you can usually get a calculator to compare the cost of some of your unhealthy habits. If you saw that by changing to eating a healthy option at home instead of takeaway pizza, drinking less alcohol and quitting smoking would save you $5000 a year plus reduce your health insurance premiums it would be an extra incentive to change your lifestyle, right?
Total savings: implement the tips and you could save $5,000 or more.
4.) Use your health insurance for more than emergencies
My health fund offers discounts on gym gear, travel, experiences like hot air ballooning and depending on your cover there are free or discounted gym memberships, massages, weight loss programs plus preventative health like chiro, natural therapies and dental check ups. Why wouldn’t you check your cover and use your extras to improve your health and prevent long term issues popping up.
Taking care of your health and preventing issues before they arise saves you money over the long term. Last year, I needed a full time carer, lots of help from family, a couple of surgical procedures, physic, chiro, naturopathy and Bowen therapy. It cost essentially a full time wage for 8 months. This could have been prevented if I had taken care of myself and used the preventative health options with my health insurance.
Total savings: $1,000 per year approx
5.) Scrap extras
Are you actually using your extras? If not, why do you keep them? The price difference for me between hospital only cover and extras cover was about $1,000 a year and I use my extras mainly for therapies and dental.
However, if you have kids you might be eligible for $1,000 of dental work for each child from the government.
If you need glasses there are online options which are significantly cheaper than getting glasses in store.
If you need psychology there are options through medicare to get free sessions.
Ask yourself, are you using the extras, if not why not and if so, are you getting the full value from them?
Total savings: $1,000 per year approx (in my situation)
6.) Get active
Walk instead of driving, do squats when heating something up in the microwave or waiting for the shower to warm up, try yoga first thing in the morning, join a class, a bootcamp or start running on your lunch break. Find an exercise that you love and incorporate it into your life. We sit for hours a day. It’s not good for our bodies and by getting more active you can reduce your risk of numerous preventable diseases.
Check your health insurance policy and you may be eligible for free gym membership, discounted gym gear and equipment.
Total savings: $600+ approx
7.) Use apps
Use apps to monitor your health. You can track your steps, outline how far you have run, check your heat rate, track your menstrual cycle, set health goals with daily reminders and achieve your health goals. Most of the apps I have used are free and they helped me drink more water, exercise more, watch what I was eating and live a healthier lifestyle.
Using these apps instead of a gym membership or a personal trainer will save you hundreds if not more a year. However, it’s easier to let things slide with an app compared to a personal trainer because a trainer will make you do it. An app relies solely on your self discipline.
Total savings: $600 approx
Be sure to get in before the rate rise next week, compare what you have with what you need, get the best rate and lock it in for 12 months.
What do you do to save money on health?