Healthcare Trends: Preventative Care and the 5 Ways You’re Benefitting

health trends

Credit: Flickr Commons, marsmet521

According to the CDC, 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the U.S, accounting for more than 50% of all deaths each year.

Think about it: 50% of deaths each year are, in large part, preventable.

It’s no wonder preventative care is on the brain – for insurance plans, companies and consumers.

Why preventative care?

With the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) in full swing, most health insurance plans* are now required to pay in full for preventative health services, such as well visits, routine checkups, shots and screening tests at no cost to you. You can find the full list of your free preventative services here.

Employer-sponsored wellness programs are also preventative care methods that are aligned with the Affordable Care Act. Employers (with 50 employees +) are required to offer healthcare coverage for all full-time employees – healthy or not. For employers where healthcare is self-funded, those companies with a healthier employee population will benefit from reduced overall claims. Thus, rewarding good health behaviors – such as fitness, weight loss, and regular preventive screenings – is now more prevalent than ever.

What’s giving these programs and consumers even more of a boost? Improvement on incentives. The Affordable Care Act now allows employers to increase employee incentives for participating in wellness programs to 30% of the total premium.  For employees, that can translate to money kicked back in the form of reduced insurance premiums, lower co-payments and deductibles, gift cards, and even cash.

Wellness programs offered by employers include smoking cessation, nutrition, disease counseling, and stress management.

Because preventative care is booming, what does this mean for you?

5 ways you’re benefitting from the preventative care trend

  1. Healthcare, consumerized: Consumers are increasingly taking an active role in their care experience and are more empowered than ever to choose their own care alternatives. WellnessFX is one of those alternatives changing the way consumers take charge of, understand, and treat their own health concerns – and consumers can do it all sans waiting rooms or unexpected delays. Ironically, as a patient, you’re anything BUT patient – the increasing consumerization of healthcare tackles that. Also, online blood work and other consumerized healthcare efforts aim to reduce the cost of healthcare: In this recent case, the blood test recently taken through WellnessFX “cost $80 less and two fewer hours than a similar test my wife was ordered to take by her ob-gyn— at the exact same LabCorp facility.”
  2. Choices offered by your employer are opening up. A study by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health found that 93% of companies plan to expand or maintain funding for their wellness program over the next three to five years.
  3. Reimbursements are availableso use them. Double check what your Health Savings or Flexible Spending account (HSA/FSA) benefits can pay for because you can put that pre-tax money toward uncovering valuable information about your health – giving you even more control over your health and wallet. Did you know that your HSA/FSA can fund your WellnessFX purchases?
  4. Your data is your data and you will have access to it. Did you know that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently took action to give patients direct access to their completed laboratory test reports? Some context from MedCityNews:“If patients have to shoulder more financial and decision-making responsibilities for their own health care, they should have full control over all their health data.” Preach. What this means is that under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, patients, patient’s designees and patient’s personal representatives can see or be given a copy of the patient’s protected health information, including an electronic copy, with limited exceptions.
  5. It will be more fun, convenient, and easy. Because of mobile and smartphone innovation, health is being hacked to be more engaging and fun. From MyFitnessPal to FitBit to ZocDoc, this is an exciting time for digital health and those wanting to live life at optimal health. Whether the interest is in tracking your workouts, connecting to your doctor, or logging your food intake, there has never been a larger selection of apps and tools to get healthy in an accessible, personalized, and customizable way.

What does all this mean in a nutshell? Your health is yours to win.

What WellnessFX is doing to help

We’ve updated our pricing on diagnostics and consults, with prices starting as low as $49. You can view the new, lower pricing on our Packages page.

* Insurance plans that were already in place when health reform became law on March 23, 2010, are considered grandfathered and won’t be required to comply with a number of provisions of the new law.

 

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.