According to a recent study (looking at trends in private employer-based health insurance from 2003 to 2013), premiums for family coverage increased 73 percent over the past decade—faster than median family income. Employees’ contributions to their premiums climbed by 93 percent over that time frame. At the same time, deductibles more than doubled in both large and small firms.
Workers are thus paying more but getting less protective benefits. However, the study also finds that while premiums continued to rise through 2013, the rate of growth slowed between 2010 and 2013, following implementation of the Affordable Care Act. While families experienced slower growth in premium contributions and deductibles over this period, sluggish growth in median family income means families are paying more in premiums and deductibles as a share of their income than ever before.
Along with this disturbing trend, many of us have also experienced the rushed mentality of our current health care system. The practitioners are expected to see more people in less time and limited to only dealing with one condition at a time. It is no wonder that in this pressure-packed system, health care has become nothing more than sick care. In our current state of affairs, here are a few observations:
- People are not getting better; they are getting sicker.
- Big pharmaceutical companies are getting richer.
- Insurance companies are growing.
- Employees’ wages are not keeping up with health care cost increases.
- Doctors (and their staffs) are getting more frustrated.
- Health care practitioners face endless hours of paper/EMR work and less face to face patient time.
It seems like a bleak picture indeed. However, there is at least a partial remedy to this problem. It is based on the simple and practical advice in which I continually try to mold my own life: “Control what you can control and minimize your emotional expenditure towards the things/people you cannot control.” Therefore, what exactly can we control in regard to the above described dilemma?
1. You can still control lifestyle choices.
We can decide to put in the work to change our own wellness. This means following a nutritional plan which includes plenty of high quality vegetables (organic is best), proteins, and fats and minimal sugars and grains. A balanced nutritional plan may look similar to this:
- Breakfast – 25-30 grams of quality protein (eggs, turkey, beef, bison, venison) and 1 fruit
- Lunch – dark green salad with protein (fish, beef, chicken) or protein with unlimited leafy vegetables and 1 sweet potato
- Dinner – 25-30 grams of quality protein with unlimited leafy vegetables
- Snacks (2-3 per day) – ¼ cup raw nuts, ½ avocado, or apple with nut butter
2. You can still control your financial budget.
It is important to not spend more than you make. Do not attempt to keep up with the Jones’. A solid budget allows for no carry over credit card debt with the only allowable loan being your home. Here are a couple of additional tips:
- Do not have car payments. Pay it off. This is one of the most highly depreciable assets.
- Give 10% of your monthly income to your church or charity
- Save 10% of your monthly income for an emergency fund
3. You can still control emotional and physical relationships.
Spend time with those persons who lift you up rather than tear you down. Unhealthy relationships can drain the life out of a person. Where you spend your emotion often indicates where you place your priority. Your relationship with God is most important followed by your relationship with your family. Everything (and everyone) else must fall below those firmly drawn priority lines.
It is time to take the initiative to develop a lineage of wellness in your family. Tweet Quote
You may wonder how focusing on these things really assists with the health care dilemma. Let me explain it to you like this: The healthier you are physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually will create in you a high likelihood of wellness. The general public’s lack of control in these areas has been a major catalyst to the current crisis. The increased wellness will mean less time, money, energy, and emotion are spent inside of and talking about the health care system.
None of this may affect the staggering trends we have witnessed regarding health care trends. However, it just may affect the wellness trends in your own life and family. It is time to take the initiative to change the health of you and your own family into a lineage of wellness.