How to Get the Most Healthcare

Healthcare in the United States is a contentious issue. It seems there isn’t one congressional session or federal/state election that goes by that there isn’t a discussion on healthcare. It is estimated that the American people dole out more than $3,000 for healthcare expenses every year. In total, the U.S. spends roughly 18 percent of its gross domestic product on healthcare costs.

Right now, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise commonly known as Obamacare, is headlining news across the country. Whether it’s the negative reports on Obamacare, the numerous website glitches or the White House promoting the healthcare reform law, the ACA is everywhere.

Despite whatever side of the issue you may be on, the fact is that more Americans have to take charge of their own healthcare needs, whether they have insurance or not. By performing due diligence, Americans can get the best bang for their buck and receive high-quality healthcare from their doctors, specialists and hospitals by being more involved.

Here are five important tips to get the most out of your healthcare:

The Right One
Although it has become difficult over the past few years to have one, selecting a primary care doctor is important to your healthcare needs. It is crucial because the doctor will know about your past, your current state of health and provide future care without having to seek the aid of other doctors.

If you don’t have a primary care physician then opt for a walk-in clinic for your medical care needs. If there is one in your vicinity select that one and go there for most of your healthcare needs.

Information
It’s best to never conceal anything from your doctor that might affect your health. Be honest, open and transparent about what you feel, how you feel about a recommended treatment and any family history of a certain disease or illness. By hiding significant information, it may hurt your overall health.

Insurance
Since Obamacare is composed of a series of mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges to expand coverage and affordability, it’s best to know what your health plan or insurance covers exactly. Relay this information to your doctor or his/her administrative assistants.

Records
In a box, storage container, cabinet or drawer, maintain an extensive health record, such as healthcare benefits, a list of appointments and bills or payment notices from healthcare providers or insurance companies. This way, you will have a lot of documentation in the event of an emergency or mistake.

Lifestyle
If you experience constant heartburn, chest pains, headaches or back spasms, consult your doctor about improving your overall lifestyle – aside from further medications. A medical professional can offer a list of changes to your lifestyle to improve your health, recommend health education classes and provide preventive care services.

You can also perform your own research into this matter by learning what you can do right now to adjust your lifestyle accordingly. The best options to take today would be to maintain a nutritious diet, get plenty of exercise, quit smoking and take charge of your healthcare.

The Perfect Storm in the Looming Healthcare

Just as our country has endured an unprecedented economic crisis in the past 24 months, the United States will soon be in an unprecedented healthcare HUMAN CAPITAL crisis that will catch many off guard, just as the economic crisis of 2008 did for so many. There are several factors for this with Healthcare reform setting the stage for the “perfect storm” as the first of the “baby boomers” turns 65 in 2011. Just as government run Fannie and Freddie Mac helped fuel the economic crisis of 2008 – the current environment is ripe for a healthcare human capital crisis. It is no question that reform in healthcare is needed. What type of reform is the ultimate question. In their book, Redefining Health Care, the authors point out the following; “Health care is on a collision course with patient needs and economic reality. In today’s dysfunctional health care competition, players strive not to create value for patients but to capture more revenue, shift costs, and restrict services. To reform health care, we must reform the nature of competition itself.”

The Institute of Medicine in their 2008 report Retooling for an Aging America clearly leads the way when it comes to understanding the significant impact of the aging population which has not been seen before in our history. Here are the facts from the IOM report 2008.

1. Between now and 2030 the number of adults aged 65 or over will double. This dramatic shift will place unseen and accelerating demands on the US healthcare system. The sheer number of older patients will overwhelm the number of physicians and other healthcare professionals unless something is done.
2. Beginning in 2011 – the 1st wave of the baby boom generation will begin to turn 65 – the 78 million baby boomers will tip the population scale growing from 12 to 20% by 2030.
3. Older Americans will consume much more healthcare and this is not built into the $900 billion Healthcare reform estimate. The current 12% of older Americans currently accounts for 26% of all physician visits – by growing to 20% – older Americans will account for more than 50% of healthcare utilization just as these reforms start to take affect.

The recommendations laid out by the IOM report are essential in healthcare reform – but have not been addressed in the current healthcare model. Other demographic factors are at play, such as, the aging healthcare workforce. Leaders in healthcare human capital retention understand that we are in the “eye of the storm” with a false sense of security with the impending wave of baby boomers, the backlog of new grads, and the eventual retirement of veteran nurses. This is especially true in the competition for quality licensed healthcare professionals who drive the revenue and deliver the highest quality in patient care. The reality is that the demand for healthcare is going up and the supply of available licensed professionals is going down. This demand cycle will be good for professionals who will see significant growth in salaries and perks, but it will be a challenge for healthcare organizations wanting to attract and retain their people with the aging population and workforce – added with the new demands of Healthcare reform.