How much should health care cost? Is what we’re paying worth it, and what are we paying for, exactly?
Over the last 100 years, medicine has shifted its focus from disease prevention and health support, to disease and symptom management. This shift in focus cost the U.S. over $4 trillion in 2015. It cost us far more than that though. We have been paying with our lives.
Cost and Value
What is the price of your health? Most of us could not come up with a number and that’s because our health is not something that we’re used to paying for. That’s like asking us to pay for the air we’re breathing. Health is something that we ‘have’ and desire. It’s something that we value. What our health actually costs us is highly subjective.
If I paid $14.99 for a book that helped me prevent heart disease, is that how much my health is worth? No! That’s the cost of the book. The value it’s given me is priceless. Would my insurance cover this cost? No! Does that mean that I shouldn’t make the investment?
Over-Leaning on Insurance
For those of us that own or lease a car, we have car insurance. Does this mean that we don’t have to pay for tires, oil changes, and new brake pads? No! We continually invest in our cars in order to maintain their optimal function. Even if we make an insurance claim for a windshield repair, we still maintain a quarterly investment in keeping the vehicle running its best.
Consider health insurance in the same light. Just like car insurance, it is really a strategy to avoid financial calamity. However, car insurance does not keep our cars running well and aging gracefully, and health insurance does not keep our bodies doing that either. Too many of us look to health insurance to support our ongoing optimal functioning. That’s not what it’s designed to do and it has very poor outcomes when it’s used in this way. Health is an ongoing investment on our part. Our personal health care is predominantly in our own hands.
Investing vs. Paying
Generally speaking, an investment is an act of contributing to something that is highly likely to provide a profitable return.
Without an investment, there will be no growth.
A payment is more like an equal exchange of money for a good or service.
You get what you pay for.
The conventional health care system is one that you pay for…and keep paying for. Integrative Medicine is a small investment – one that can yield huge dividends. Where would you like to be in 5 years? What do you want your life to look and feel like? If we look at these questions from a financial perspective, we know that money grows when it’s invested in the right places. If we put money into smart markets, in 5 years we’ll have more money then what we started with. The same is true with health.
It may be difficult to put a price on having optimal health, and it is certainly difficult to understand the costs of health care and disease management. It is easy, however, to recognize that investing in your ongoing health is worth it. So the next time you ask yourself, “will my insurance cover this?”, consider the results you want and the value of attaining them. Life feels much better with clean filters and fresh tires.