When you’re a child, you are taught that, if you are sick, you should go to the doctor. And, while that is certainly good advice, many people do not get the help they need due to healthcare costs being prohibitive.

In fact, statistics show that a whopping 44% of Americans don’t visit the doctor when they are sick simply because they can’t afford it. Another 40% will forego tests and other treatments due to costs. 

Startling statistics like these are the reasons that many people are not getting the healthcare they need, and many in the healthcare industry are calling for a change to make healthcare more affordable.

Many Americans report they don’t pay their medical bills, choosing instead to take care of their own basic needs, like food and shelter. Some will not fill prescriptions that they can’t afford or will choose to take less than the recommended dosage of medications to try and make them last longer.

Obviously, there is a very real problem when it comes to health care costs, a problem that has many people asking what is healthcare really and why is healthcare so expensive in the US. Even the cost of insurance, which can reduce medical costs, is too high for some.

So, what can be done about this problem? Unfortunately, not as much as would be ideal, but people can still take steps to reduce healthcare-related costs.

Take Care of Your Health the Best You Can

There is an old joke about how the best way to lower healthcare costs is to avoid getting sick in the first place. And, while that’s said in jest, there is obviously some truth in it.

Your health is the most valuable thing that you own, so it makes sense that you would want to take good care of it and do your best to preserve it.

So, how can you safeguard your health? For one thing, do your best to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese is one of the most common causes of health problems in Americans.

Even if you’re at a healthy weight, take care to eat foods that are good for you. This includes very few if any processed foods, lots of leafy vegetables, fruit, and healthy, lean protein.

A healthy diet can go a long way toward warding off diseases and other health problems.

It’s also important to exercise regularly. Ideally, you want a combination of cardiovascular exercise that gets the heart pumping and strength training exercise that builds muscle.

Also, avoid bad habits that are known to lead to poor health, such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol in excess.

Finally, focus on preventative care if you can afford it. Going in for routine checkups and monitoring your health is typically easier and cheaper than having to try and treat health problems that have gotten out of control.

If you can follow these tips, there’s a good chance that you can maintain good health throughout your life. In that regard, you won’t need quite so many treatments or quite so much care in your lifetime, thereby greatly reducing the amount of money you’ll have to spend on healthcare.

Go for Generic Medications Whenever You Can

If you do have a health condition that requires you to take medication, then try and buy a generic version of your medication whenever possible. Generic medications are often half the price, if not less, of name brand products and, more often than not, they’re exactly the same thing – just packaged differently.

For some people, buying generic can allow them to get the medication they otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. So, if you are given the choice between name-brand and generic, go for generic every time. It’s worth it.

Always Visit Doctors in Your Network

Most insurance plans have a preferred network of healthcare providers. When you go to these providers instead of others, you will typically enjoy discounts and overall lower costs than if you went to someone not in your network.

What’s more is that you sometimes have to pay additional fees for seeing a doctor outside of your network, which is the last thing you want with medical costs already so high. To avoid these fees and to save money, know which doctors are in network and then make a concentrated effort to choose only those doctors.

As you can see, there is a lot you can do to save money on healthcare costs. Hopefully, in the future, there will be a nationwide solution to lower costs. But, until that time comes, you’ll need to do your part to lower costs and still get the care you need.

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