Investing in Yourself: Health Care

Investing in Yourself: Health Care

Last week I tried to avoid health care costs. Twice. Yes, twice. The first time, I had an earache that I didn’t think I really needed to have checked out, and the second time was a (related) toothache that didn’t present itself in time for treatment before the weekend. But by trying to avoid these costs, I spent more money than I would have had I treated them right away. Why? Well, I self-treated. Let’s take a look.

Healthcare: The Expensive Route

When I got the earache, I bought $20 worth of miscellaneous medicines and struggled through everyday activities. Finally, the pain got the best of me; I went to the doctor and coughed up my $20 co-pay and $15 on medicines.

After a few days, the earache turned into a horrible toothache, one with pounding pain and the occasional stabbing torture. This time, I wasted no time in calling the dentist (I’m a baby about tooth pain), but the dentist was out for the weekend. Grrr. I thought I could tough it out to avoid the after-hours fee, so I loaded up on more pain meds to the tune of $25.

When the dentist saw me on Monday ($20), he prescribed stronger pain meds at 30 buckeroos. Grand total for an earache and a toothache: $130. Total I could have avoided had I seen the docs immediately: $45.

Healthcare: How to Truly Invest in Yourself

My story may not be much different from others. Many times when minor aches and pains disrupt our lives, we think that a few days hopped up on extra-strength pain meds can see us through it. Sometimes it can. Certainly, colds and flus are often best self-treated.

However, if pain becomes intense or you’re not familiar with your illness (really, what did I know about adult inner ear infections?), seeking treatment right away can actually save you time and money. Instead of wasting time curled up in the fetal position, howling in pain, you could seek medical treatment. Instead of blowing wads of cash on over-the-counter medicines that don’t help, you could get a prescription for the good stuff.

Sometimes, spending a little time and money upfront to cure a medical problem right away can be beneficial. You could avoid the additional cost of over-the-counter medications; you could avoid pain; and you could be back to your old self sooner.

How about you? How do you invest in your health? Any tips to make illnesses less painful on the wallet?

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Miss T's picture

Miss T wrote:

Wed, 10/26/2011 - 23:20 Comment #: 1

I am a huge fan for investing in yourself. I guess that is why I don't mind spending money on organic foods, gym memberships, and active activities. To me being healthy is really important. It allows you to enjoy your life more and you get to live life longer. Plus you don't have to spend a ton on medical bills later on if you look after yourself.

In addition I do make sure to go to the doctor when I need to. Why mess around. Calling in sick just causes issues at work which is where my income comes from that I can't afford to lose. It also protects me from a possible infection etc getting out of hand. Being proactive with your health on all fronts is really important.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Thu, 10/27/2011 - 20:57 Comment #: 2

Miss T, very true that health helps you enjoy life more! Also, being proactive does save a lot of time and money.

Tax Savings's picture

Tax Savings wrote:

Fri, 10/28/2011 - 09:11 Comment #: 3

This post is even more relevant in context of developing countries, where the government wants the people to invest in Health Insurance. For instance, consider the significant developments are happening in the Health Insurance sector in India. Health insurance portability, enabling individuals with health insurance policies of non-life companies to switch companies, came into effect from 1 October 2011. IRDA, the market watchdog, expects this to result in better products and services for policy-holders. Just like is the case with Mobile Number Portability, a policy-holder can switch over to a new insurer if he is dissatisfied with the existing company, taking along his no-claim bonuses and track records. However, to be eligible for portability, he should have held the policy for a minimum of one year. Interesting to see how the market will span out in near future.

femmefrugality's picture

femmefrugality wrote:

Sat, 10/29/2011 - 17:43 Comment #: 4

I totally agree. Especially with dental and preventative care. And especially if you're lucky enough to have health insurance!

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 17:29 Comment #: 5

Tax Savings, that's very interesting! It would be nice to have portable insurance and more options!

FemmeFrugality, I will never cheap out on dental care again -- the pain is rotten! Straight to the dentist from now on :-)