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How a Family of Six Keeps Healthcare Costs Low

 

***Disclaimer: We are not medical doctors and are simply sharing our opinions here and what has worked well for us.  Consult your doctor before changing your health care plan or the way you manage your health.

Four years ago, in our quest to cut expenses,  we changed to a higher deductible health insurance option with lower premiums.  We realized this was a bit risky with 4 kids, so in order to ward off some of this risk, we’ve put some practices in place to help minimize our need for medical care.  We’ve found that by optimizing our health, we rarely go to the doctor now, and have saved several hundred dollars, at least, in our healthcare spending each year.  And it’s working. In fact, in 2016 we only spent $139.55 out of pocket for medical expenses not including our monthly premium, even on our high deductible plan. We’re no longer those people that the doctor’s office knows so well. We show up every year or two for our annual physicals, and that’s about it. Here’s some of what we’re doing to keep healthcare costs low. :

1. We’ve Changed How We Eat

More whole foods, less processed foods.  More pure water, less pop, etc.  This isn’t always easy and we aren’t always perfect at it, but we are improving, and it’s saving us money. Changing our eating habits has not only saved us on medical expenses but in grocery costs as well.  We grow, can and freeze many of our own veggies, we eat out less and we largely stay away from processed foods, opting instead to seek out healthy recipes that we can prepare at home.  Giving your body the right nutrients can help it to have the power to fight bacterial and viral infections that float around, and fight serious diseases as well.

For instance, you may not know that sugar feeds cancer cells. It’s their favorite food, in fact. Almost everyone has cancer cells roaming around their bodies; it’s just that when the number of cells surpasses a certain amount, one is said to officially “have cancer”.

Do your body a favor and starve those cancer cells to death by trading in sugar calories for kale, spinach or broccoli. It may not sound fun at first, but after 3 to 5 days sugar cravings will decrease and you won’t even want it anymore.

Recommended Reading: Paleo in 28: 4 Weeks, 5 Ingredients, 130 Recipes

2. We’re Serious About Safety

Rick was a firefighter/EMT for over 23 years, and well, he’s seen it all.  Therefore, he’s a bit anal (and taught me to be the same way) when it comes to safety in our family.  We wear our seat belts.  We wear helmets when biking or rollerblading.  We teach the kids (and practice ourselves) safety when around our horses.  No one goes near those things without helmets, and they’re taught to look for the signs horses give when they’re planning an aggressive move.   Safety training in all situations is a must for our family – end of conversation.

We reaped the benefits of this intense training one year when Maddie’s horse, at a canter (run) going through our woods, brought her under a tree, not realizing that he could clear it, but she could not.   A large branch caught her right in the face.   Maddie was wearing her helmet and had the knowledge and the training to know to hold tight.  Instead of a very possible eye injury (the helmet prevented this) or a bad fall, she walked away with a nasty 3/4 inch cut above her lip.  She had been trained, and therefore stayed cool and calm, walking Star home and keeping totally relaxed as she walked into the house, sending her mother into a panic when she revealed her blood covered face. 🙂

Instead of a head or back injury from falling off the horse in a panic, or an eye injury, we only had to pay for a few stitches.  I was so grateful that my daughter had been trained on what to do in these types of situations before they happen.

**A side note: we removed the stitches ourselves instead of having the doc do it.  Total saved: $160

3. We Research and Practice Natural Healing

There are SO many ways to heal our bodies naturally instead of always heading to the doctor.  Take for instance, the following video on a natural cure for strep throat:

 

We’ve used this in our family, and it’s worked.  That being said, we’ve also used it and it hasn’t work.  It’s important, whenever using any natural cure, to use common sense and get to the doctor for antibiotics when needed.  Common sense and training are key here, especially in the case of strep throat, which can be deadly if left untreated.  Whenever using a natural cure for our family, we start early on, and if we don’t see improvement within a day or two, we head to the doc.  Search the web for a natural cure for just about any remedy, and something will likely pop up.

We’ve also found that eating a largely whole foods or paleo diet has helped us cut down drastically the instances that we get sick. The more optimized the human body is for fighting sickness, the more easily your cells will destroy diseased cells working to take over.

For us, an ounce of prevention has saved us pounds of money in healthcare costs.  By learning how the body works, and what naturally healing properties occur in the plants and veggies all around us, we’ve taken control of our healing.

Amazon Best Seller: Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition (3rd Edition)

4. We Stay Active and we Know When to Rest

Exercise in and of itself is a very healing activity, as is getting a good night’s sleep.  And I have to say that implementing a weekly day of Sabbath rest has done wonders for our health.  The body benefits greatly from taking a day off of work and just lounging.

Likewise, exercise does wonders for the body. And you don’t have to run a marathon or spend hours lifting weights. Even a short-term weight lifting session 3 or 4 times a week (mine is no longer than ten minutes) and three times a week of cardiovascular exercise – even if it’s just a 30 minute walk – is enough to help your body get – and stay – healthier.

Sleep is also hugely important for good health, so make sure you’re getting enough.

I encourage you to look back at your doctor visits over the past couple of years and see if any of them could have been prevented by putting the above tactics into place.  Maybe, and maybe not, but it’s worth a look.   You could potentially save thousands of dollars. And bonus: you could transform your health and well-being.

 

33 comments

  1. This is something that I have to make more of a priority. A lot of times we are rushed and our food choices aren’t always the best. Also, while I’m disciplined when it comes to money, I am not the same way when it comes to food. I definitely have to get more active as I have a long commute to work and sit most of the day at work.

    • Laurie says:

      I hear you, Andrew. I’ve finally started making it a priority this year to make cardiovascular exercise a regular part of my week. I was already doing stretches and free weights, but I feel so much better now that I’ve added the cardio stuff in.

  2. Aaron says:

    Good thoughts Laurie. The lady and I are on a parasite cleanse using some herbal pills taken for 30 days + coffee enemas. The results have been very revealing. Sounds like a lot of diseases can start from parasites (which many people have unknowingly) within the body.

    I agree with you on the sugar can cause cancers. It’s interesting reading the Mayo’s thoughts on this – as they cite it being a myth and then go on to say, consuming a large amount of it can increase risks of certain types of cancers + increase risk of obesity which can lead to cancer. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/in-depth/cancer-causes/art-20044714?pg=2)

    • Laurie says:

      That is so interesting about the parasites!!!! You’ll have to keep me updated on how that is going. I think the ppl at the Mayo are totally wrong about sugar and it feeding cancer. I’ve heard too many reports supporting that theory. They are supposed to be some of the world’s best, but I’ve found lately that they’re pretty archaic in some of their methods. 🙁

  3. Mrs. Groovy says:

    Great job on staying healthy and keeping the costs down, Laurie. How wonderful that Maddie was able to avoid serious injury. It always amazes me when a piece of information sticks with kids and they’re able to save themselves from disaster. Their minds are fresher than ours, LOL.

    I’ve got to drop the name of yet another book — by Gary Taubes, The Case Against Sugar. The author also has several YouTube interviews. There’s also an excellent talk on YT given by Robert Lustig called “Sugar, the bitter truth” that has been viewed more than 7 million times.

    • Laurie says:

      I love when you recommend books, Mrs. G!! I will look those YouTube videos up as well. We really try and keep our sugar consumption to a minimum. It’s just not good.

  4. These are all great tips – and thanks for sharing that video! Several years ago, to eliminate some of my own autoimmune symptoms, we started eating much healthier (very low sugar, paleo). We got away from it over the last two years and could see the repercussions, so three of four of us are back to eating much healthier now. Jake (he’s almost 17) is out on his own so much anymore, he grabs quick snacks and sodas at the gas station. He knows they aren’t healthy, but I’m at a loss as to what to do about it – beyond educating him about it.

    We also have a high deductible plan and have done well keeping our costs down over the past few years. This year was a different story and there was nothing we could do to prevent it. But when you have a significant health issue, it makes you realize exactly how valuable your health really is! It’s definitely worth investing in.

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, I’m realizing with those teens (our Maddie is 17) that we can only educate them and control what we feed them at meals. Beyond that they’ve got to make their own decisions. I just hope they eventually come to realize the benefits of a healthy diet!

  5. We are fortunate to be quite healthy. While some factors are out of our control, I agree diet, exercise, sleep, and healthy relationships all impact our health. Thanks for sharing the ideas about safety training and natural remedies as well.

    • Laurie says:

      It’s funny – my family is ripe with heart disease, diabetes, addiction, etc. I’ve been working hard to treat my body well in order to avoid these incidences. Last week I went to the doc for a physical (I’ll be 50 soon) and he said my cholesterol was “better than normal” and my blood sugars were also normal. He said that if I continue to be active and eat well there’s no reason I should ever have heart disease or diabetes. We certainly can’t control every aspect of our health, but we can control most aspects of our health

  6. Brian says:

    Prevention is such a key. Eating well, and rest are good starts. Amazing how as we get older our ability to heal slows down, and it’s even more important to take proper care.

  7. Couldn’t agree more. Preventative measures can go a long way. Exercise and eating right can help avoid or delay many of the common health problems. Mental health is important too. Taking even 5-10 min each day to just relax with no distractions can be a huge boost to your psychological well being!

  8. You took out your daughter’s stitches? That is a seriously bad-ass move, Laurie! I did not know that about sugar and cancer cells. I have been trying to cut way back on sugar, and I’m wondering if I should go cold turkey. I seem to get lured back when I decide to have “just a bit.”

    • Laurie says:

      It really was quite easy – just snip and pull. 🙂 Well, Rick does have EMT experience too, so that helps. Yes, me too with the sugar!!! “A bit” so often leads to “a lot”. Then it takes me a few days to wean myself off if it. It’s terrible!

  9. Our medical bills were basically non existent until last year. The process of getting pregnant and having a baby means going to the doctor about once a month. Most of this is covered by insurance but the co pays do add up.

    You are 100% correct on the whole foods and exercise. I have seen a huge difference in my life after improving my diet. Never tried the at home natural healing stuff.

    • Laurie says:

      It’s amazing what self-improvement in the area of eating and exercise can do!!! At my recent physical my doc said I would probably never get the diabetes and heart disease that most of my family has because of how I take care of myself. What a relief!

  10. I love love love these tips and tricks. Ever since I cut out soda and started to work out it has greatly reduced the amount of sickness that I’ve had. I think I only got since once this year and it was really bad for a week. Normally that would put me down for a couple of weeks and feeling bad. It’s amazing what exercise does for the body in helping ward off sickness 🙂 That and lots of prayer 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      So true, Rob!!! Soda is NOT good. I’ve cut it down big time, to about once every other month or so. Not going back there again; my body is SO much happier.

  11. I love this!! As you know, we’re a family of six (soon to be seven – you may not have known that part lol). Though we currently have insurance taken care of, I always like to plan for days when it might not be provided for us. And this is pure gold! It’s not typical info and that’s what I like about it.

  12. Thanks for your post. I totally agree that the best way to reduce health costs is to increase healthy habits. Nutrition does not have to be complicated or expensive–in fact it can be quite the opposite. Cutting costs on soda, sweets, and empty foods cuts costs at the grocery and doctors office. Thanks for sharing!

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