health insurance

Your Health is Your Wealth πŸ’°

Here are 5 ways your health directly impacts your wealth and bottom line

Group 15 (3)

"Your health is your wealth" is an age-old adage, but for most people, it feels esoteric or not relevant to their daily lives. If health really was wealth, we'd see it marked clear as day on our bank statements, right? 

In an ideal world, you'd see deposits in your bank account for everything you did that contributed to a healthy lifestyle. Did you drink 8 cups of water today? Deposit. Did you get 8 hours of sleep last night? Deposit. Did you hit your daily activity goal? Deposit. On and on the list would go. People would see microtransactions go into their bank for each of their behaviors that contributed to an overall healthy life. Soon enough, health would no longer be thought of as a luxury of the wealthy, but as important and integral to us and our financial wellbeings as our jobs.

Wow, that sounds pretty awesome. Someone should really think to build that! πŸ˜‰πŸΆπŸš€πŸ™‡

While the above may not currently exist, your health really is your wealth. And, while it might not be as easily visible as checking your bank statement, there are definite ways we can see health equating to wealth in our lives.

Here are 5 definitive ways your health impacts your bottom line:
1. Health Insurance Premium Payments

The median age of a worker in the US is ~ 42 years old. (Source)

As of March 1, 2023, the leading health insurance carrier in central PA, Highmark Blue Sheild, sold the following fully insured small group plans with corresponding rates for 42-year-olds:

  • PPO Blue Qualified Embedded $6850 100/100 Bronze - 42 Y.O. Rate $490.63
  • PPO Blue Qualified Embedded $4250 100/100 Silver - 42 Y.O. Rate $556.46
  • PPO Blue $2000 100/80 Gold - 42 Y.O. Rate $617.78
  • PPO Blue $250 100/80 Platinum - 42 Y.O. Rate $721.91

As shown, the Silver plan is 13.4% high than the Bronze plan, the Gold plan is 11% higher than the Silver plan, and the Platinum plan is 16.9% higher than the Gold plan. Cumulatively, the Platinum plan is 47.1% higher than the Bronze plan, totaling $2,775.36 per year. 

As per federal affordable care act guidelines, if your employer offers health insurance they must cover 50% of the employee-only cost. Naturally, healthy individuals gravitate towards higher deductible plans and vice versa, meaning that your health could be costing you $1,387.68 per year in insurance premiums. When you consider the cost of covering a spouse and dependents, your family's health could be costing (or saving!) you ~ $3,500 in increased health insurance premiums.

Source for Highmark Blue Sheild Rates: SERFF Tracking Number: HGHM-133250446

2. Health Insurance Copayments

Health insurance premium payments aren't the only expensive component of health insurance. Health insurance copayments are also a significant expense that can really add up! A typical consumer can expect their copayments to look like the following:

  • Primary Care Visit: $35
  • Specialist Visit: $70
  • Lab Work: $35
  • X-Ray: $75
  • Emergency Room: $500
  • Brand Prescription: $25

Consider now the cost of being on a brand name maintenance drug and having a PCP Visit, Specialist Visit, and Blood work all done in a year. That is easily $500 of added expense directly tied to your health!

3. Freedom to Not Say "Yes"

Unfortunately, we can sometimes forget to value things, even the mundane, until they are gone. Most of us take for granted our abilities and the freedoms granted to us by our health. Tasks like mowing the grass, making the bed, or taking out the trash are all things that any sick person would choose to do in a heartbeat if it meant being healthy again.

It's not just the mundane that is taken from people when their health goes. People's ability to play with and be a part of their children's and/or grandchildren's lives deeply suffer when they lose their health. Personally, that's the biggest motivating factor for me to stay physically active. I never want to be in a position where I have to say "no" to playing catch or playing tag with my son. Memories are priceless and our freedom to make lasting memories, with the people we cherish the most, is tied directly to our health.

4. Your Time

It's no secret, needing care can be a real PITA (pain in the a**). Whether it's a primary care visit, seeing a specialist, or receiving regularly scheduled intravenous infusions (like me), healthcare is a huge time suck, and that time isn't free. For most of us, doctor appointments = taking paid or unpaid time off work. Not only is that expensive in and of itself (if you make $25/hr that time is worth $200 or $400), but less paid time off means less time to be doing the activities that you actually enjoy. Simply put, because of how painful navigating our current healthcare system is, being healthy means more PTO to use as you'd like and less time spent twirling your thumbs as you sit in a waiting room.

5. Your Mental Health

I'll be the first to admit, sometimes life can be overwhelming. From financial stressors like rising prices and interest rates to worries about career growth and career trajectory, there is a lot out there that can occupy our minds. It's natural to have these feelings of unease; our minds dwell on things outside of our control or that we can't answer. While these feelings are natural, it's critical to find balance to avoid the laundry list of negative effects stress has on our bodies. Fortunately, there's a natural treatment for stress and anxiety. Regular exercise acts as a natural anti-depressant by releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals, and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being. As someone who has dealt with anxious thoughts, there's nothing more valuable than a peaceful mind. Fourtantly healthy behaviors can help give us this invaluable peace. 

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