Over the last weekend the New York Times ran two articles on the current state of health insurance and how it is changing. Both articles pointed to the fact that it is becoming more and more important to take care of yourself and prevent injuries.
The first article was fascinating, and scary. The article reported that a local health insurance company was revamping the way it assesses risk and how it categorizes patients due to their perceived health risks.
It was fascinating because the local health insurance company, UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), is starting to look into other areas of their clients’ lives to assess risks to their health.
They are looking into alternative areas for risk assessment. They are looking at how often someone shops online or from home. They are looking at internet usage and commonly visited websites.
Health insurance companies have always been trying to find new ways to look into people’s lives to gauge how healthy they are and how long they will live. Health insurance companies have been known to pry into people’s private health records from their doctors. They have also been known to research potential clients in more private sectors as well, without the clients knowledge or consent.
I find it fascinating that they health insurance companies are starting to look into our overall shopping habits, patterns, and how we behave to gauge how healthy we are and how long we will reasonably live.
I also find it completely scary that these health insurance companies have so much power that they can look into private areas of their clients’ lives to assess their health risks. I find it scary because what does that mean for the future?
The spokesperson for UPMC said that this new policy makes sense. If someone is shopping from home frequently, that could be due to being house bound or having trouble getting around due to health issues. That can allow the health insurance company to reallocate their resources as needed. Interpretation: this will allow the health insurance companies to more easily deny health insurance to those who are sick and suffer from pre-existing conditions. Or at least be able to charge them more.
What is the next step? Are the health insurance companies going to monitor what you buy? Can they conclude that if someone bought a certain amount of frozen pizzas or containers of chocolate bliss cream cheese, then they are a health risk? Can they then use that information to deny health insurance or to raise rates?
The other article of interest that ran in the Times over the weekend was an article about health insurance and workers compensation in the great state of Texas. The article was titled “The Best Insurance For Texas Workers? ‘Don’t Get Injured‘ The State Has a Record of High Worker Fatalities and Weak Benefits.”The title pretty much says it all.
Right now the economy in Texas is hot, local politicians are calling it the “Texas Miracle.” There is a downside to the hot economy though. Texas has led the nation in worker fatalities for 7 of the last 10 years.
When Texans get hurt on the job, they have some of the poorest protections and hardest to attain benefits of anywhere in the nation. This is because private Texas companies are not required to provide workers compensation for their employees.
The health advice for those in Texas with no workers compensation coverage? Don’t get hurt.
The same goes for those of us who don’t want our health insurance costs to go up. Stay healthy.
This seems to be a common mantra as of late. The best way to prevent future health issues is to keep yourself healthy now. The best way to avoid paying exorbitant fees for health insurance coverage, and co-pays for every doctor, is to keep yourself healthy now.
Granted, you can’t control all aspects of your overall health. I believe that 25% of our overall health is affected by environmental factors such as living next to a radio tower, pollution, toxic chemicals that surround us in our houses, work places and public spaces. 25% of our overall health is controlled by our choices such as if we exercise, eat right, reduce stress, have adequate sleep, maintain a balanced lifestyle, and all of the other factors that go into leading a healthy lifestyle.
The last 50% of our overall health is dictated by our genes. Some people have sturdy parts, some people have easily irritated parts. Some people have a razor sharp wit and an even sharper mind, while some people are not deep thinkers.
No matter how much someone exercises and takes care of themselves, if they don’t have the proper genetics, then they won’t be able to become a professional athlete. Not everyone can be a high level athlete, or even an amateur athlete. Just like not everyone is genetically capable of getting 6 pack abs and a ripped, lean physique, despite what many of those weight loss systems may say. Just in the same way that not everyone is genetically programmed to be a genius.
If you think about it, it makes sense. If it is not possible for everyone to become a professional athlete, not matter how hard they work, then it follows that not everyone can be a ripped, lean societal ideal of a beach body no matter how hard they work at it.
If someone is naturally a larger person, they are not going to be able to get ripped, lean and muscular. Many people who try to attain a certain physique and are not able to, then feel badly about it and feel that there is something wrong with them in that they can’t lose weight and become a societal ideal.
Health and weight loss is not about will power. Unfortunately, many stories in the media would have us believe that. But so many more factors go into how much we weigh other than just our weight.
Just because someone is overweight, doesn’t mean that they aren’t healthy. Research shows that you can be unhealthy and skinny, while you can also be healthy and overweight. It matters more about whether the person is exercising, eating healthy and generally taking care of themselves, rather than if they are skinny or not.
Someone who is overweight but exercising and eating healthy will feel better, be healthier, have less metabolic issues and live longer than a skinny person who doesn’t exercise.
There are plenty of skinny people who don’t take care of themselves and eat badly. On one hand they are lucky because they don’t have to watch their weight. But on the other hand they are lured into a false sense of security about their health. This leads them to bad health issues later on in life.
No matter how good someone looks, if they aren’t taking care of themselves, it will catch up with them at some point.
How does this all relate back to health insurance? It gets expensive to be unhealthy. Especially as we get older and our health issues start piling up. All of those pre-existing conditions will make insurance more expensive, and general health care more expensive.
If you want to avoid exorbitant health care fees in the future, then take care of yourself now! If you want to avoid declining health and increased pain as you age, then take care of yourself now! Don’t wait any longer. The longer you wait to take care of yourself, the more health issues will arise and the worse they will become.
Pain Free Lifestyle makes it easy to get into exercise and healthy eating. It takes you step by step through beginning exercising to getting into a sustainable, easy on your body exercise routine that you can do without injuring yourself. I designed Pain Free Lifestyle to be accessible for everyone.
If you are overweight or obese, Pain Free Lifestyle is for you. If you have arthritis and joint pain, then Pain Free Lifestyle is for you. If you haven’t exercised in years, then Pain Free Lifestyle is for you.
There is hope out there for everyone. No matter your age or physical condition, it is very possible to get into an exercise routine, eat healthy and feel better. You may not lose 100 pounds, get ripped 6 pack abs or become a societal ideal of a beach body, but who cares as long as you feel better?
I’d rather live longer, feel better, be happy and be able to do the activities that I want to do, rather than kill myself and make myself miserable trying to attain a physique that is unrealistic and unattainable.
Pain Free Lifestyle is a moderate, easy to follow approach to exercise and healthy eating.
Be realistic about your physical condition and what you are physically capable of doing. Not everyone is genetically predisposed to being a professional athlete. So don’t exercise like one. Use common sense when evaluating an exercise and nutrition program. This is the Pain Free Way.