A Picture of Health: Caring For and Understanding Your Medical Coverage in the USA

For many Americans, maintaining good health takes some initiative (especially if you’re not fully covered). It’s important, therefore, to get to grips with the many nuances of insurance, bills, medical records, and Affordable Care and to take control of lifestyle habits - with the right adjustments, you can often save money and protect your well-being in the long-term.


Health Insurance


If you’ve ever found yourself confused by the terms and jargon of your health insurance plan, don’t worry - studies show that over half of Americans are in a bind over the issue. A good way to improve your knowledge is to familiarize yourself with the various plan types and learn how they might be relevant to you. Health insurance can take the form of Medicaid, Medicare, a company/individual policies - these all have differing premiums, deductibles, allowed limits, and other legal stipulations.


Medical Bills


Medical bills can represent something of a fixed result for many patients but the truth is that these are prone to human error and, therefore, not always accurate or set in stone. Typically, a medical bill will contain key information regarding the service you received, the date it was administered, and the costs broken down into individual segments and in total. Learning to understand your medical bills can help you to identify incorrections and even to make disputes (should there be an error or an overcharging). Make sure to check your medical bills against your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) and be certain that the charges correspond with your plan. If you believe there may be a fault, you can request a detailed line-item bill, which will give a more thorough breakdown of your treatment.


Medical Records


Although your healthcare provider will retain a version of your medical records, it’s good form to keep track of these yourselves (especially if you’re thinking of switching practices in the near future). You can, at any point, request your medical records from your healthcare provider, although this may cost a small fee depending on the format they are sent in.


To help you scan and convert documents from paper into PDFs, make sure you’re utilizing free online software. With the right program, you can combine a number of pages and condense into one PDF to be sent to healthcare specialists or kept on file.


Affordable Care Act (ACA)


The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as ‘Obamacare,’ is a reform law that helps uninsured patients to attain insurance coverage if they have preexisting conditions or limited finances. If your household income is below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), you may be eligible for subsidies or Medicaid. Take some time to explore the online marketplace (otherwise known as the ACA Healthcare Exchange) and view the available healthcare options. You can navigate options regarding the ACA on the government website.


Exercise


Healthcare coverage is important but ultimately will only address symptoms or medical issues as they arise. It’s important to approach your health in a holistic manner, adjusting your routine to facilitate long-term well-being. A good place to start is with your physical fitness - if you’re out of practice or lacking free time, try working small exercises into your commute by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or opting for a walk on your lunch break. The important thing is to build momentum and get your body moving.


Diet


Your diet is as crucial to your health as your fitness regime. If you want to improve your eating habits, try switching out fried or processed foods for fresh produce. This is often more cost-efficient, and freshly harvested food is less carcinogenic, more nutritious, and tastes better. There are plenty of recipes that utilize fresh ingredients with an emphasis on fruit and vegetation.


When it comes to your own health, it’s important to take the initiative and get on top of paperwork, legalities, and lifestyle habits. If you can prepare in advance, you’ll be ready in the event of a health emergency.


Sophie Wild Robin provides Counseling, Psychotherapy, Mentoring and Coaching services, supporting you with mental health, mental wellness, and life issues. Learn more at: www.sophiewildrobin.com

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