When you make your health a top priority, you direct the process of getting well and everything becomes your decision. You become an educated consumer of services, and you expect your doctors to help you identify the cause of your illness and to help you get well. You expect your health insurance company to serve that journey wherever possible—not to dictate your treatment.
In essence, you demand a higher level of care and you’re willing to pay for it.
This might be a new way of thinking for you and it may be hard at first to justify spending money on something that “should” be paid for. You probably already pay for all or part of your health insurance every month with the expectation that it will insure your health. Unfortunately, as you know, that expectation is rarely met, especially in the case of chronic illnesses such as autoimmune conditions.
If you find yourself struggling with this concept, consider reframing the situation as loving yourself enough to put part of your discretionary income toward getting well.
From a more practical standpoint, getting and staying healthy will actually save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime.
Let me put things into perspective….
Consider the cost of dining out, or what you spend on items such as alcohol and coffee each month. The average North American spends over $1000 a year on coffee alone and another $2000 a year on going out for lunch during the week. This doesn’t even include alcohol or more expensive dinners on the weekends. In fact, statistics show that Americans spend over $90 billion per year on alcohol alone.
Then we turn around and spend another $320 billion on prescription and over-the-counter drugs to manage the chronic symptoms caused in part by our unhealthy lifestyles!
Take a look at the statistics, according to The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2011, a report by IMS Health:
In 2011, U.S. consumers and their insurance companies spent:
• $23.2 billion on oncologics (cancer drugs)
• $21.0 billion on drugs to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• $20.1 billion on lipid regulators (cholesterol lowering drugs)
• $19.6 billion on drugs to manage diabetes
• $18.2 billion on antipsychotic drugs for disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
• $12.2 billion on drugs to manage autoimmune conditions
• $11 billion on antidepressants
The same report revealed that in 2010, U.S. consumers and their insurance companies spent an astonishing $7.2 billion on the cholesterol- lowering prescription drug Lipitor. We spent another $6.8 billion on Nexium, one of several proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) to treat heartburn and acid reflux. These are two disorders easily reversed by following a healthy lifestyle.
The report did not include spending on over-the-counter drugs and other temporary fixes. Spending for non-durable medical products, such as over-the-counter medicines, reached an astonishing $44.8 billion in 2010!
Not a single one of these drugs address the underlying causes of illness, and in most cases just add to our toxic burden; have uncomfortable and possibly dangerous side effects; and cost us billions of dollars.
In conclusion, making your health a top priority may involve shifting some of your values about how you spend your money, but in the long run it will save you money and pain down the road. Your health is an investment and you’re worth every penny. Pay a little more now to get the long-term optimal health you deserve, and the extra energy and vibrant health will be more than worth the extra expense in the prosperous years to come!