You may have heard the quote, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” It seems being thin, or a healthy weight, rather, could lend itself to financial prosperity. I’ll consider the effects of health on savings as it applies to obesity, health care and healthy eating.
Cost of Obesity
Obesity challenges those afflicted in numerous ways, including financially. Here are some interesting facts from an article titled, The Economics of Fat to Thin. “For an individual who is severely obese -a BMI of 35 or above- additional healthcare costs are anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 a year,” says Dr. Vivek Prachand, director of the Center for Surgical Treatment of Obesity a the University of Chicago Medical Center.” However, there is hope; “On average, healthcare costs for patients suffering from morbid obesity were reduced by 29% within five years of bariatric surgery, as a result of the reduction or elimination of obesity-related conditions.”
The cost of health insurance and health care has been on the rise for years. It is difficult to predict costs with all the changes associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This Wall Street Journal article provides the following tips:
1. Use Preventative Services – Plans created under the ACA are required to cover more preventive services than older plans.
2. Stay In Network – If you stay in network, costs will already be agreed upon by the care provider and the insurance company at a “reasonable” price.
3. Challenge Doctors and Insurers – Start by making sure that any bills sent directly to you by the doctor aren’t covered or weren’t already paid by your insurer. Unpaid medical bills will quickly go to collections so be sure to communicate with the doctor and the insurer.
It’s frustrating to think that healthy food might not be accessible to those of us who don’t have the resources to afford it. This study, by Miriam hospital in Rhode Island found evidence that healthy food is more accessible than we might think. “By the end of the study, half of participants were slimmer, and on average food spending was cut by more than half, saving nearly $40 per week.” The savings on food alone (not decreased healthcare costs) is over $2,000 per year annually!
I’m motivated by the thought that improving ones health could also save money. SaveUp has given away prizes to help you pay for groceries and motivate us to keep saving. It seems that making healthy choices for both our bodies and our wallets will help us SaveUp!
This post was written by SaveUp’s personal finance contributing writer, Catherine Hawley, CFP®.