Healthy Habits and Health Insurance

February 23, 2017

It’s no secret that health insurance is a fairly big expense, and it’s also no secret that most of us would do pretty much anything to save money. When it comes to health insurance, we don’t have the same level of control that we do with auto insurance – oh, raising the deductible still reduces the premium, but generally in order to impact the cost of this insurance, you have to revamp your entire lifestyle.

We already know that smokers and drinkers are charged more for their health insurance, but were you aware that your weight can also cost you money? With some policies, even being just a little bit over the recommended range for your height can cause an increase of 10-20%.

What can you do, then, to lower those health insurance premiums? Here’s a list of five healthy habits that will help you lose weight, improve your fitness level, and eventually save some cash.

  • Respect your body: A glass of wine every so often is fine, but drinking to excess, like heavy smoking, is not only bad for your body, but bad for your wallet. Quit smoking, and keep your alcohol consumption in the low-to-moderate range.
  • Breakfast like a champion: While skipping meals is never wise, if you are going to miss one, make sure it’s not breakfast. Beginning the day without nutrition is like trying to run a car with an empty gas tank; you’ll be lethargic and unfocussed. In addition, missing meals makes it harder to lose weight, because your body goes into starvation mode, storing calories rather than spending them.
  • Catch some zzzz’s: Did you know that getting ample sleep is crucial to optimum cognitive function as well as maximum weight loss? It is, so fight the urge to stay up to the wee hours, and try your best to get eight full hours of sleep.
  • Cut calories: Eating healthy foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a no-brainer, but you have to watch those snacks as well. If you can’t re-arrange your schedules so that you’re eating six small, healthy meals a day, instead of the big three, at least make sure that the snacks you choose are high in protein and low in sugar. Nuts and fruit are good choices.
  • No pain no gain: It may be an old adage, but that doesn’t make it less true. 30 minutes of exercise 3-4 times a week, with a balance of cardio and strength training makes you leaner, and your insurance agent happy. Even thin people should exercise – it’s possible to be skinny but still be out of shape.

While these tips won’t give you a lower insurance premium in six weeks, they’ll save you money in two ways: the first is that fit people handle stress better, get sick less often, and are less likely to file claims, the second is that as the weight comes off, and you’re back in the normal range for your height and age, you will be able to petition for lower rates, or shop for a new policy.

Even without the money-saving aspect of these lifestyle changes, however, it’s important to remember that being healthy is its own reward.