How to Avoid Unexpected Health Bills

Updated on October 16, 2021

Life is unpredictable, and unfortunately this can feel especially true when it comes to your health. The world was recently reminded of how fickle the concept of health can be, because even though a person may seem and feel healthy, an unexpected situation can hit at any time. You only have to consider the global pandemic the world is just now emerging from to realize that even healthy people can quickly become sick or in danger of frightening health concerns. Whether it’s you, your partner, your children, or your pets, unexpected health bills that seem to appear out of nowhere can create a major strain on your bank account. Here is advice from top industry professionals on how they avoid unexpected health bills. Follow these tips and you too can avoid the unknowable. 

This article is split into two sections: general health and wellness steps you can take to prevent sickness, and advice for how to avoid hidden fees when at a health center for treatment. While you’ll want to do everything in your power to avoid sickness, if you find yourself or your loved one needing medical care, you can still follow certain measures to sidestep unexpected bills. 

General Wellness Measures to Take

Avoiding unexpected health bills first starts with remaining healthy and preventing yourself or those under your care from needing to enter a medical center in the first place. There are simple steps you can take in order to be aware of your health situation at all times, one being to receive regular checks from a medical advisor.

“You can stay healthy by getting yourself checked up on by your health practitioner multiple times a year, or whenever you have a health concern or bother. This will help prevent unexpected medical bills because rather than letting a simple health issue turn into a medical crisis, you’ll stay on top of your health and nip issues in the bud. Just as you would want to know if there’s anything amiss in your child or partner’s body, give yourself the same treatment and get checked. With the advancement of technology, there are dozens or digital medical platforms and apps available so that you can even speak with a doctor from the comfort of your home. Seeking medical health has honestly never been easier.

Taking vitamins and supplements is a great habit to develop in order to keep your body in its healthiest form. A lack of enough vitamins is damaging, but a steady regularity of the right nutrients will do more than just make it more difficult to become sick–it will also boost your health and wellness.

“Health sometimes starts with preventative measures. Rather than allowing your body to become sick from a vitamin deficiency and the risks associated with one, consider taking supplements and vitamins. I always ensure I’m taking steady doses of vitamin C and zinc during cold and flu season in addition to the other vitamins I incorporate into my daily routine.”

Not only does taking vitamins and supplements place you on the right track to staying healthy, but your diet also plays a huge role in overall health; you should ensure you’re ingesting enough vitamins and minerals, as well as enough nutrients and foods from each food group.

“How you care for your body directly affects your quality of life–you might be surprised how much eating healthy and getting enough regular exercise makes an impact on your health. The easiest way to avoid unexpected medical issues is to take preventative measures to care for yourself. Ever heard the expression “You are what you eat”? Filling yourself with processed foods–with an overload of fats and salt and sugar–and not balancing your diet with enough plant nutrients is perhaps the quickest way to lead your body into premature health issues.”

  • Chris Hetherington, Founder and CEO Peels

Not only should you be filling yourself with the right foods in order to maintain healthy levels, your liquid intake plays an equally important role. The CEO of Cure addresses how many of us suffer from a lack of adequate hydration without even knowing it, which causes negative side effects we won’t even understand the cause of.

“75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated without their knowledge. When your body doesn’t have enough fluid intake, the side effects can be severe but without you knowing the cause. Preventing dehydration is such an easy fix, but you first need to be aware of the issue. A healthy body is one that’s properly hydrated throughout the day. In the mornings especially your body needs to be hydrated after sweating and losing liquids during the night. Of course, staying hydrated does not mean filling your body with sugary drinks or alcohol. Water should be your main source of fluid, but at Cure we recommend an addition of electrolytes in order to properly maintain hydration. Those who are active especially don’t realize just how much hydration they need in order to replenish their bodies.”

As you age, not only does your risk for unexpected health issues increase but general wellness can easily begin to decline. Mood and anxiety, mental clarity, weight maintenance, skin and joint health–each of these issues are more prevalent in later life. It matters that you stay on top of any concerns you encounter to prevent further damage. One such area of extreme importance is your mental wellness.

“Mental health is paramount at any age and each stage of life carries its own unique challenges that may impact your mental state, but we have found that as people age, their mental clarity and wellness needs to be placed at the forefront, as it can often be overlooked in older adults. People don’t realize how much their mental state affects other areas of the body; if you don’t have a positive mental balance, other areas of your life and body will begin to decline prematurely. Learning how to manage stress and anxiety plays a monumental role in your overall health. Having the right tools and knowledge to adjust your mindset goes a long way, but you shouldn’t have to do it all alone. Therapeutic treatment has been shown to be beneficial in maintaining healthy levels of care.”

Looking after yourself on the inside is a necessity but it doesn’t entirely cover preventative measures. The situations you put your body through understandably play a role as well. 

“An obvious way to avoid unexpected health bills is to be careful what kind of situations you put yourself in. Avoiding unnecessary risks is pretty basic advice, but maybe it still needs to be said. Living an active lifestyle is one thing–and a step in the right direction of maintaining your physical wellness–but being reckless with your body is not wise. Sure, dangers to your physical wellbeing can come out of nowhere even when you’re completing the most routine tasks, but danger is obviously also present when you put yourself in harm’s way. Take care of yourself and consider if that reckless action is really worth it before you head towards an avoidable endangerment.”

Listening to your body is perhaps the key to taking good care of yourself. When you feel sick or notice something amiss, treating your body’s natural response with attention can prevent illness down the road.

“If your children come to you with a health concern, such as a sore throat or upset stomach, you listen to them and check into their illness by consulting with a medical practitioner. You’ll most likely send them to rest until you can better pinpoint what part of their body is ailing. Yet, many adults refuse to offer themselves the same level of introspective care. Understandably, adults have pressing routines that don’t easily allow for unexpected downtime, but you do owe it to yourself to listen to your body and get any out-of-the-ordinary feelings looked into. Maybe it won’t result in a need for downtime, but instead will be a simple treatment you can add into your routine.”

Health problems can be largely avoided by following general protective measures, especially at times when sickness and disease are more prevalent. In the past, it has been difficult to avoid getting sick during high illness periods such as cold and flu season, but the Covid-19 pandemic has taught everyone a lot about what preventative steps look like. 

“Taking the necessary health precautions is one way to avoid illness. We all know how to wear masks in public, especially when we’re feeling sick, and to frequently wash or sanitize our hands after touching high contact surfaces now that we’ve lived through a global pandemic. These are measures that have only recently been widespreadly instated, but they’re easy steps we can all be taking moving forwards. Even once Covid-19 and its variants are mostly eradicated, we should still be careful in order to protect ourselves and others from germs and illness.”

  • Dr. Payel Gupta, CMO & Co-Founder Cleared 

There is a certain level of personal introspection that must be done when working towards preventing yourself from encountering avoidable health bills. You need to have a solid understanding of your medical history and general health, along with concerns that have arisen over time. When you know your body, you better understand what situations you can and cannot handle.

“When you know your body and what you can handle, you make wiser decisions based purely on you. Sure, maybe your friends are able to train for that marathon or follow a restrictive meal plan but you’re aware that it wouldn’t be a wise health decision for your present condition. Or maybe you are trying to determine if you can ditch the masks in public after receiving your vaccination now that some restrictions have been lifted. It can be so tempting to follow the choices made by others, or even restrictions lifted by the government, but at the end of the day the person who best understands your health situation is you, so you must make the right decisions to keep yourself healthy.”

  • Jay Levitt, Founder and CEO Lofta

In a sense, staying healthy is not just about what actions you take but also about what you don’t do. Slowing down and taking time to stop and simply relax is of huge importance to your overall wellness. 

“Something the Western world collectively struggles with is the concept of rest as an acceptable and even praisable action. Our culture tells us to work hard in order to succeed, which in itself is not a damaging message. However, when the emphasis becomes on not stopping until you succeed, that’s when it’s time to take a step back. There should be time built into each and every week for you to receive adequate rest. Pushing yourself too hard for too long will lead to a whole host of health issues, from physical to mental to emotional. Rest is important, and especially when your body tells you it needs more of it.”

Measures to Follow At the Health Center

While you can and should do everything in your power to maintain healthy habits in order to prevent sickness, sometimes health issues are unavoidable. If you or someone who you love and care for ends up needing medical treatment, there are steps you can take to avoid unnecessary fees. 

“Take the time to study up on your insurance coverage before health issues pop up. Even if you are already in a treatment center, there’s still time to contact your insurance provider to be made aware of the inclusions of your coverage plan. Knowing exactly what will be covered versus paid for out of pocket will help you make informed decisions every step along the way, as well as look into other coverage options as needed.”

You can also be asking lots of questions to make sure you fully understand your situation from a treatment standpoint. Asking questions is the best way to gain a deeper knowledge of your present scenario. Being aware of the answers will provide you with a sense of peace as you work to process the situation.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions of everybody who knows more about this area than you. If it’s not your area of expertise but you’re still living through a medical situation, don’t worry about bothering others in your pursuit of knowledge. Ask questions about your coverage, questions about treatment, about next steps, and the options available to you. No one will fault you for trying to understand your situation before making decisions.”

It’s always wise to enter an unexpected health scenario with a general plan you’ve previously mapped out. This way, it makes the unanticipated event of treatment less stressful or confusing.

“I think it’s great advice for everyone to prepare for emergencies in advance. Whether it’s planning you complete for yourself individually, or for your household, if you conduct the necessary research and preparation in advance, the unforeseen situation of an emergency will seem much more manageable.”

Once you’re in a treatment facility, be it a hospital or other medical center, sometimes there are expenses for being treated on-location called “facility fees.” They are one area where people can be hit with unanticipated costs, so it is wise to be aware of them in advance of your hospital visit.

“Hospitals often charge overhead expenses, or facility fees, to anyone treated on the premises. This is why overnight stays can become brutally expensive. The actual expense will depend on a variety of factors like length of stay, hospital ward, and machinery used, but it’s a good idea to ask about the fee in advance of receiving treatment when possible.”

Health and wellness depends on a large variety of factors, but don’t ever think you don’t have any control over your health. As seen above, even the simplest steps you take make a huge difference to your long term health. Consider every preventative measure and know your body in order to provide it with the best possible care. And don’t panic if you end up in a situation where you need medical treatment. While there can be hidden fees associated with medical stays, you can avoid unexpected costs by making yourself aware of every aspect of your situation.

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