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Fighting Financial Healthcare Burdens Begins with Prevention

Did you know that one simple change every year could end up saving you thousands of dollars over the course of your life? All you need to do is schedule a yearly wellness exam.

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Many chronic illnesses are preventable or can be delayed with a simple yearly wellness check. These checks will keep you on the right track for your health and they can help your bank account, too.

The CDC reported in 2016 that the cost of chronic care conditions reached $3.7 trillion annually. This is close to one-fifth of the entire U.S. economy.

As your health partner for life, Holston Medical Group understands the importance of prevention and has programs in place that can help you make healthier choices that save you money on care in the long run.

What Are Chronic Conditions?

Chronic diseases are conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention and/or limit activities of daily living. Most common chronic conditions are those that are preventable like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Other conditions include cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and chronic kidney and lung diseases.

Dr. Bolick & patient

The CDC reports that six in 10 adults have at least one of these chronic diseases and four in 10 adults have two or more diseases. Tennessee and Virginia are part of a group of states that make up a region called the “Stroke Belt,” because of high instances of these chronic heart diseases.

Most of these chronic conditions can be prevented, but this ounce of prevention often requires lifestyle changes.

The Importance of a Patient-Doctor Relationship

Taking the first step toward preventing or delaying the onset of these diseases is an easy one: talk to your doctor.

Make sure that an annual wellness check is part of your yearly routine. When you’re young, that check-up often looks like a verification of your wellness numbers for items like weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

By consistently monitoring these numbers, you and your doctor can quickly notice any changes or inconsistencies.

As you get older, cancer checks will be included, such as mammograms for women (beginning age will depend on risk factors and patient preference), and colon cancer screening for all adults when they reach 45. These will also help build a baseline for your body’s health.

Having a good relationship with your doctor ensures that you work as a team toward your health. At HMG, we make sure to treat the whole patient, including talking to you about your mental health and any changes in your daily routine. Sometimes, even something as simple as lack of sleep can trigger a health change that your HMG doctor knows to look for.

Preventative Care vs. Cost of Care

The cost of diabetes alone is staggering. The American Diabetes Association estimates that $1 in every $7 spent on healthcare across the U.S. goes to treating diabetes and the complications from the disease. Yet only 8% of adults age 35 and over take advantage of all the preventative services available to them in their health plan.

Instead of spending more time and money on managing chronic diseases like diabetes, doctors and patients can direct their focus towards taking preventative care measures. There isn’t much we can do to change one’s genetic code, but patients can make healthy changes to reduce chronic health risks.

Controlling cholesterol, not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and making water your primary drink are all quick changes that you can make to prevent or postpone the start of some chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Not smoking, eating healthy, exercise and drinking water
Not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and making water your primary drink are all quick changes that you can make to prevent or postpone the start of some chronic diseases.

Admittedly, making these changes can be difficult, but your doctor can help you create a plan that will make adjustments in small, sustainable increments. These changes can also help reduce the financial pressure of medical maintenance on you in the long run.

As the healthcare industry has adjusted and changed, the insurance industry has tried to keep up. Most insurance companies will now pay for preventative care, like immunizations, cancer screenings, and yearly wellness checks.

Take Control of Your Healthcare Costs

Having a relationship with your HMG primary care physician can help you control your healthcare costs. When it comes to planning preventative care, your doctor can work with you to find options that best fit your particular needs and your financial circumstances.

We know that every patient’s health needs are unique, so HMG doctors are trained to create individualized plans that work for you and your lifestyle.

Nearly 31% of patients insured in 2020 were on a high deductible health plan. That means that people are paying premiums for their coverage, plus as much as $6,000 of the first dollar of care that they received that year.

Thankfully, many high-deductible health plans allow you to receive 100% coverage for those preventative services, like mammograms and colonoscopies. That type of free care is something that everyone should take advantage of.

Not smoking, eating healthy, exercise and drinking water
Take advantage of free preventative services that your health insurance may offer. Many high deductable plans cover mammograms and other preventative tests.
Create a Preventive Wellness Plan Today

HMG’s primary care physicians can help you on your wellness journey every step of the way. As you get started, remember to keep in mind these essential steps toward prevention:

1. Take a look at your health coverage policy. Learn more about which preventative care options are available to you and how you can take advantage of them.

2. Start a relationship with a trusted primary care physician. Talk to your HMG doctor about the best ways to utilize your health coverage and create a plan that matches your health goals together.

3. Schedule annual wellness checks and preventative screenings. Your doctor can help you schedule preventative check and screenings within the HMG system and begin to track your progress and health over time. By working with your doctor to prevent chronic diseases, you can reduce the risk of potential health and financial burden down the line.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

To schedule an appointment with one of our HMG primary care physicians today, contact us or find a provider nearest you at one of our HMG facilities.