***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.