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TheStreet Open House

Survival Techniques For The Barely Insured





If you're anything like me, you're barely insured. I don't work for a company that offers benefits and so I've had to shop for individual insurance. Setting aside what a headache that was, I've ended up with catastrophic insurance. This means that if I step off a curb wrong and break every bone in my leg, I won't be in totally ruined. That said, I don't get any help with regular checkups or routine care.

There are lots of things I do every day to help keep the Doctor away that go far beyond a simple apple. Every day, I work toward more optimal health and have learned that prevention is far cheaper than treatment. Not only do I consider my health to be my greatest asset, but staying away from MDs is a financial reality I've had to learn to navigate. None of this is groundbreaking, but let it serve as a reminder that just like your financial health, your mental and physical health requires daily attention.

Get Insurance
Yes, it's expensive and you'll probably never use it. I haven't had to go to the Doctor since college. The what-ifs however, are too disheartening to ignore. Any sort of grave accident or surprise diagnoses, without insurance, would have me sunk. I have an extremely high deductible and not surprisingly, it matches my emergency fund. If you feel like you don't need insurance at all, you don't necessarily need get much, but get yourself something.

Stay Active
We've heard it before but that still it doesn't seem to budge some of us. According to a study by the American Journal of Health Promotion, extremely overweight Americans have medical costs nearly 70 percent higher than those who fall into the normal weight range. It isn't all about keeping weight off; regular exercise keeps joints healthy and prepares you for life's tumbles. I mean that literally. I have a friend who hasn't a good sweat in years break his arm because he fell trying to avoid a skateboarder on the sidewalk. It's an unfortunate event that probably could have been avoided with a little increased strength and flexibility.

That said, for some, gym memberships, even to the YMCA, can be budget busting. You don't need to throw money at the problem. You'll have less cool machines and built in inspiration, but there are things you can on a daily basis to keep yourself agile without spending a dime.

  • Walk as much as you can, even if it means parking in the back of the parking lot.
  • Take the stairs almost always even if you're like me and live on the fifth floor.
  • YouTube your fitness. You have to look a little harder for quality, but YouTube is full of videos to help you meet your fitness goals. Whether it be a short yoga workout, some ab exercises, modified pushups, tai chi, parkours, you name it; type it into your search bar and give it a try.
  • Attack the kitchen. Turn your canned goods into weights and know that a 10-pound bag of flour weighs the exact same amount as a 10-pound dumbbell.
  • The local playground is my favorite gymnasium. After dinner, when kids are home, the monkey bars provide more challenge than anything I've found in doors.




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