Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How Being Healthy Translates into Saving You Money in the Long Run

Is there a connection between health and wealth? I think that most people inherently know that there is. But what does that look like mechanically? And how do the implications of poor health play out in your everyday finances?

Let’s be clear up front that were not talking about the type of health impairments that are unavoidable, such as Type I Diabetes or congenital heart problems. What we are talking about are the vast number of health conditions that are within our ability to control, such as obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and the various health conditions related to stress, among others. That is to say that where we do have control over our health, we need to exercise that control to the greatest degree possible.

Let’s take a look at some areas of reasonable concern, and view them from the perspective of the negative outcomes that poor health brings. Some are obvious, but others are so subtle that you may not even be aware of them.

The Cost of Co-payments, Deductibles and Coinsurance

This is the most obvious direct cost of poor health. Even if you have good health insurance, you will still have to pay co-payments, deductibles, and coinsurance.

For example, let’s say that you have a $40 co-payment for doctor visits, and $30 for prescriptions. If you visit the doctor once a month, and fill two prescriptions per month, you will be paying $100 out of pocket - every month. That’s $1,200 per year! And that assumes that some of the care doesn’t fall under your deductible, in which case it will cost considerably more.

If you are also supplementing your regular medical care with over-the-counter medications, you are incurring still more costs. Though over-the-counter medicines may cost less, they’re not covered by insurance at all, and the expense can mount up over time.

By maximizing your health, you avoid all of these expenses. That will lead to lower living expenses a healthy bank balance.

Impaired Spending Patterns 

How you feel physically will have an impact on everything in your life, including your spending patterns. If your judgment is impaired by poor health and by health concerns, you might easily fall into the pattern of making irrational spending decisions.

For example, you might get into the habit of buying things that you really don’t need, perhaps as a way of compensating for feeling bad. You might also delay or avoid spending money on important maintenance activities, that will lead to bigger expenses down the road.

When your body is healthy, your mind is sharp, and you’ll have better control of your spending decisions.

Weaker Job Performance 

If you don’t feel your best, it’s almost impossible to mask it at work. It will show up in the form of a lower energy level, a lack of enthusiasm, and often a pattern of mental distraction. Both your superiors and your coworkers will notice your decreased performance.

In the competitive job market that we are now in, a weakened condition could lead to your being passed over for a promotion, or even being placed at the front of the list when layoffs come. Employers will, after all, retain their most productive employees, and eliminate the least productive.

Good health will enable you to better perform at work, and that will improve both the likelihood of your job survival, and your chance of a promotion on the job.

Lost Income 

Taken to the extreme, poor health can result in increased absenteeism, which will have an affect on your paycheck if you use up all of your sick time. In addition, employers closely monitor how much time an employee takes. This is not only a direct cost to the employer (paying you for work that has not been performed), but it is also highly disruptive to the workflow in the organization.

It is even possible that you could be demoted as a result of excessive absenteeism. Your employer may decide to put you into a less challenging position that will better accommodate your health issues.

The problem is even more acute if you’re self-employed, or work on commission. Illness means less time and effort devoted to work. If you’re self-employed or on commission, this will translate to a lower income.

Good health will enable you to stay on top of your game, and maximize your income.

Reduced Job Prospects 

As the cost of health insurance continues to skyrocket, employers are looking more closely at the number of insurance claims that each employee is making. If you are a regular user of the healthcare system, you will be causing the employer’s health insurance plan premiums to rise. This is a significant cost for any employer who provides health insurance for its employees.

An employee who files continuous health insurance claims is increasingly being seen as a liability. This can increase the chance that you will be let go in a general layoff, as well as impair your chances of being promoted.

It’s also not inconceivable that a future employer may decide not to hire you. Though it may not be legal to exclude you from consideration based on health status, employers have a way of working around the rules.

By maintaining good health, you remove an important potential negative from your employment profile. That will increase your chance of being retained and promoted going forward.

Considering all of the negatives attached to poor health, you owe it to yourself to do whatever is necessary to maintain your health at a peak level. This doesn’t mean that you can make a chronic disease go away, but you can and should control what you’re able to. That means eating right, getting adequate rest, exercising, visiting your doctor regularly, and maintaining proper body weight. It will all payoff in the end , and some of that payoff will be monetary.

                       Written by: Kevin Mercadante (http://outofyourrut.com/)

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