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Health Insurance Supports Healthy Resolutions for 2020

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A new year and a new decade! That means it’s time to take stock of your health and make plans for the year ahead. Is it time for a little health self-improvement?

We know you’ve thought about it — making “healthy resolutions” for this new year and new decade. That means you will be reaching out to the important members of your healthcare team: your doctor, your dentist, and any specialists who may be recommended to help oversee your care.

There is one member of your healthcare team you may not have considered, and that’s your insurance broker. At SBIS, we can help you evaluate your options for private health and dental insurance coverage to find a plan within your budget to help you manage your health and the costs of your healthcare.

Health insurance can remove budget barriers to your healthcare goals. In Canada, many supplemental treatments that benefit your overall health and well-being fall outside provincial health insurance. Those treatments include, but are not limited to, dental care, prescription drugs, specialists (psychologist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, etc.), ambulance transportation, home healthcare and semi-private or private hospital accommodations plus medical emergency protection when you travel outside of your home province.

Health and dental insurance can help you better manage many aspects of your health affordably. But most of the effort will have to come from you. If you have pledged to make 2020 a better year for your personal well-being, we have some ideas for healthy resolutions, tips, and tools that can help!

Small Steps = Big Gains

One challenge of annual events, like New Year’s resolutions, is the “all or nothing” approach that comes with it. The expectation that one will go from a TV-loving couch potato to an exercise-loving gym rat because the clock struck midnight on an arbitrary date is, at best, unrealistic. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the start of a new year to make changes to your routines.

When it comes to improving your well-being, a lot of small actions you can maintain over the long haul can add up to big changes. When setting your goals, remember the SMART principles:

S – Specific
“Eat better” is not a specific goal, but “make water your drink of choice and replace sugary drinks with water” is one that can be attained because it dictates the action.

M – Measurable
“Exercise more” is not a goal that can be measured, but “walk to the subway three times per week” can be tracked.

A – Achievable
When you make small but consistent progress toward your goal, you set benchmarks you can reach along the way.

R – Realistic
If you are a member of a busy family, setting a goal of going to the gym five times a week for two hours (especially starting from zero) is a bridge too far. Instead, try starting with twice a week for half an hour, and build up the frequency and duration gradually.

T – Time-Based
They say it takes 21 days to make something a habit, so if you have set a goal to start a new practice, try setting a goal to do something specific planning what you eat and cooking more often, for 21 days. If you don’t make it the first time, try it for another 21 days.

It’s human nature to lose motivation in the face of goals that are impossible to reach. By making small changes that you can sustain for a lifetime, you will be in a much better place to stick to your resolutions well beyond January or even the year.

Try this app from Participaction for motivation, information and even rewards!

Stay Heart Healthy

While your motivations can be deeply personal, it’s important not to lose sight of the big picture. For example, you may want to fit into the same size of jeans you wore in college, but really, your health is one of the most important things to consider when making plans for the future.

The fact is, heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, and many of the conditions leading to heart disease are preventable.

Some of the simplest plans to follow to optimize your health are the Heart and Stroke Foundation recommendations for the prevention of heart disease. Suggestions for heart-healthy living from this leading Canadian authority are pretty simple. They include eating well, moving more, and taking active steps to manage your level of stress.

Another huge benefit to your heart (and pretty much every other organ) is to quit smoking. You may have access to prescription therapies that are covered under your health and dental insurance program, but even if you’re not covered, speak to your doctor about treatment options to help you kick the habit.

These heart-healthy changes may not help you look exactly like you did as a teenager, but they just may save your life. The fact that they may also help to improve your physical appearance should be considered a secondary benefit. You may even want to try Canada’s food guide for healthy eating recommendations.

Evaluate Your Health Risk Factors

There will be some factors affecting your health that will fall outside your control. There are established genetic links to many conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. This means if someone in your immediate family (such as your parents or your siblings) have a chronic health condition, you are at an increased risk of developing the same or related conditions.

Hereditary or genetic health conditions don’t have to mean a life sentence, but your family health history is an important consideration when it comes to managing plans for healthy living in the future. When you are susceptible to disease, the onus is on you to avoid unnecessary risks by implementing any preventive measures you can.

Be sure to discuss any history of chronic health conditions in your family with your doctor and follow the recommendations they offer to help you mitigate the risk factors you face. With the help of coverage from a health and dental insurance policy, you may have access to supplemental treatments, like prescription drugs, which can help you maintain good health for a long, active life.

To get started, take a few moments to do this free Risk Assessment.

Understand the Importance of Mental Health

We have made great strides in recent years to remove the stigma around mental health challenges but we still have a long way to go.

The statistics on the far-reaching effects of mental illness in Canada are staggering:

  • In a given year, up to 20% of Canadians will experience mental illness.
  • Mental illness costs the healthcare system billions of dollars for care, disability and early death.
  • In spite of this, many mental healthcare services, like treatment with a psychologist and prescription drugs, are not covered by provincial healthcare systems.

When it comes to managing your health, taking care of your mental health must form a critical component of your strategy. Struggles with mental health can come to the fore during the holiday season, whether it’s because you are reminded of the loss of a loved one, or because you just don’t feel the “joy” of the season when you’re alone and far from your support system.

The self-care advice given to those hoping to improve their physical health can also apply to improving mental health. Taking time to get outside, eating well, and avoiding the temptation to overindulge in addictive substances like alcohol and drugs will help you avoid some of the highs and lows that come with mental health challenges.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to deal with mental health challenges on your own. You can get access to crisis services in many parts of Canada by calling 211. If 211 services are not available in your area, try contacting your family doctor or local community services for a referral. Or visit here for more information.

Your primary care physician may not be an expert in treating mental health conditions, but they can direct you to services that are available in your community, with or without insurance. If you have coverage under a health insurance plan, you may be able to receive counselling services from a registered therapist or social worker to help you through tough times.

Oral Health Affects Overall Health

With all the talk of the important elements to manage your health, dental care is often left off the list. That’s a shame, because good dental health is an essential part of good overall health. Poor dental hygiene has been associated with many health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and low birth weight in babies born to mothers with periodontal disease. You can learn more from the experts here.

If you are making healthy resolutions for 2020, be sure to add a trip to the dentist to your list! Review the details of your health and dental insurance policy with your dentist to see if you may benefit from covered treatment options that will improve your dental health, and ultimately, your well-being.

Ready to Get Started? Give Us a Call

Contact us at SBIS today to learn why working with an insurance broker to find coverage for your healthcare needs may be the most important healthy resolution of all for 2020!

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