Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 Ways to Medically Self Insure

Self insurance can be a spendy proposition. Usually the only people who even consider self insuring (ie: covering all of their own expenses in lieu of getting regular insurance coverage) are the very rich or the very poor. Here's ten ways to take care of yourself so that your need for medical insurance will be less (I still highly suggest having all of the insurance coverages you need--life, health, auto, home, etc).
  1. Get annual physical check-ups. Finding and taking care of medical problems early is a very cost effective way of keeping yourself healthy and medical costs low. Getting medical screenings every decade instead of annually is one way to nearly guarantee that you will face bigger, and more costly medical problems.
  2. Ditto for dental. You should get a bi-annual teeth cleaning and annual dental exam for the same reason noted above.
  3. If you do have a medical problem, get the correct care. Running to the emergency room when waiting for an appointment with your regular physician or visiting the urgent care would have worked just as well increases medical care costs and doesn't do a whole lot more for you medically speaking. Caveat: you need to know when a medical problem is life threatening, urgent, or can don't want to die because you made the wrong call.
  4. Keep your vaccinations up to date. Let's see...tetanus and lock jaw because you stepped on a rusty nail or getting a once a decade tetanus shot? I would vote for the shot.
  5. Exercise and eat right. This advice has been repeated ad nauseum but people still don't do it (I still don't do it either!). The payoff can be years of strength, stamina, and good health and minimal medical expenses.
  6. Don't do things that put you in harms way. Most people can stay relatively safe and healthy just by using common sense. Don't smoke or drink. Don't drive drunk. Don't hang out in known gang areas or with known gang members. Don't drive like a maniac. Don't do any crazy stunts that you see on YouTube. Etc.
  7. Prevent accidental injuries, or if you are accidentally injured, take steps before hand to mitigate your injuries (ie: wear a bike or motorcycle helmet, wear your seat belt, learn how to swim and swim only in marked swimming areas, etc).
  8. Make your home safe. Many problems that require medical attention occur in the home. From seniors tripping over throw rugs, to people falling off ladders, to babies ingesting poisons, to fires...many of these things can be prevented if you keep your home as safe as possible.
  9. Don't be so frugal it makes you ill or injured. Eating every last leftover is a good way to save money but if the leftover in question smells funny, better to throw it out than risk food poisoning. If you know that your deck is rotting but the cost to fix it is going to be a lot, bite the bullet and fix the's cheaper than a run to the emergency room.
  10. Take care of yourself as much as possible. That was grandma's motto. She didn't see the inside of a doctor's office or hospital for nearly 40 years because she took care of herself. If she was sick, she would take vitamin C and sleep until it went away. She took her vitamins. She treated sunburns with vinegar. In fact she had a whole repertoire of home remedies for anything that ailed us.

The bottom line is that medical care is astronomically priced and insuring your way out of every possible problem is likewise, very expensive. The better way to handle this? Do what you can so that you won't need to cough up the big bucks for medical care.

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